I love franks and fireworks like the best of them. We took part in our neighborhood bike parade with bikes and bodies decked out in red, white, and blue. But this Independence Day, my mind and heart have been with those who feel utterly dependent.
You see, a few days ago, I dropped off some Fourth of July goodies to our friends who are in the hospital with their nearly two year old who is battling cancer. The flags and silly glasses were my sad attempt to show solidarity.
I cannot imagine what it feels like to be living quarantined in a small hospital room on any day, not to mention a holiday that celebrates freedom and independence. The suffering feel and understand deeply what is true innately of all of us: life is a gift that we do not control.
And I know that my friends are not alone in their quiet suffering in the midst of the cookouts and kebabs. There are those who cannot get out because they are caring for aged parents. There are single parents who have to work on holidays to make ends meet. There are single people who feel like they are missing out on all the family fun. There are struggling married couples smiling to cover the dissonance in their relationship. There are people imprisoned, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. They have been given the unwanted gift of utter dependence.
From them we can learn to look to a Coming Day of freedom, one that is not bound by national borders or the constraints of time. They remind me that, while freedom on this earth is to be enjoyed and celebrated, we were made for a far more wholistic freedom. We were made to enjoy the presence of our Creator God face to face. We were made to live in perfect unity inter-personally and well as intra-personally.
Everything in us whispers that we were made for more, even on festive days of fireworks and friends.
The prophet Isaiah declared boldly what he saw ever-so-dimly coming one day: the promised One who would inaugurate a better kingdom.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1-2).
Christ, the freest One, was bound to the Cross that we might be free.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36).
Those who know Him now yearn for the day when we will know Him fully. Those who do not yet know Him have the pains of separation meant to point them to the source of lasting freedom.
While we celebrate the gift of the independence of our nation, may we also celebrate the greater freedom that can never be taken away. May we remember those who feel anything but independent and celebratory today. May we look with expectant eyes and work with ready hands for the Coming Day of lasting freedom.
And, now, back to the brats.