On Sunday, we will celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. On that day, a group of politicians and soldiers proclaimed that the colonies were freed from Great Britain’s rule. And to honor this, we are free from labor for the day, free to wave our flags, free to eat red white and blue foods, free to watch fireworks, and free to participate in parades that give thanks for our autonomy as a nation.
I think that the 4th of July is also a wonderful time to ask ourselves as individuals, fellow inhabitants of this country and as people of faith, what are we freed for? Luther wrote in one of his most well-known essays entitled Freedom of a Christian:
“A Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all.”
It’s one of the many paradoxes of faith that Luther was so famous for developing. And this particular idea simultaneously sets us free from and binds us to one another. We are free to love, act and be who we are in all our rainbow/political/human spectrums. But also we are responsible for one another’s well-being. It is a tough path to walk, balancing care for others without being overbearing, balancing freedom to do what we want with the truth that what I do affects others. So this Independence day, I hope you have time to celebrate the wonder that it is to be free…and to celebrate the burden that it is to be free. Might be a lovely conversation starter now that we are again freed to gather in groups and at church again. :)