Spectacular displays lit up the skies on the evening of Independence Day and we were once again awed by brilliant light shows. Family barbeques, July 4th Fairs, and all the celebrations have come and gone. I think we celebrate our precious freedom with greater gratitude each year because of the vileness of terrorism that struck our nation on 9/11 and continues to strike peoples throughout the world. Isn’t it amazing how we can take something as precious as our freedom for granted and do not realize that we are doing such until some horrible tragedy awakens us.
It is just as amazing that we take for granted the freedom won for us by Jesus Christ. We do not intend to take it for granted it just seems to happen. We live in a country that built into its constitution the freedom to practice our religion, from worship of God to worship of idols; the law protects our right to worship the true God or to worship sticks and stones. Perhaps if we had been among those early Christians it would be easier to appreciate the great and wonderful gift given us by Christ. Those early Christians (as some Christians today) were not granted the freedom to practice their faith in Jesus Christ and were hounded, tortured and killed for professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Yet, we were not among the first disciples, no, we are the spiritual descendants of those disciples by at least fifty generations, but I do not believe that the fervor of our faith is diluted by the number of years between Jesus Christ and us. Jesus beckons to each of us, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”[i]
What we have received is a free gift, not earned, not by right, or by heritage, but only because God loves us and eagerly desires our companionship. Let each of us be thankful for the freedom won for us by Christ, just as we are thankful for the freedom won for this country by our fore bearers. Let each of us thank God daily for both. Let each of us live our lives in thanksgiving for our freedoms.
[i] New Revised Standard Version, Matthew 11: 28-30
~ Fr. Al Jewson
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.