"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
"Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt." Deut. 10:19
LISTEN: "I'll Stand by You" by Carrie Underwood
As we prepare to celebrate another 4th of July, another Independence Day, we are reminded of all the parts of our nation that seem to be tearing us apart. The racism. Smoldering prejudices. The violence. The wealth inequalities. The struggles of the LGBTQI+ communities against the discriminations they face. Black Lives Matter- All Lives Matter- Blue Lives Matter- all clamoring to make a point. The voice of immigrants who want to make a home here. The mask vs. the antimask groups. people deliberately coughing on others. Everyday there seems to be another video clip of someone putting down someone else, of someone harming another body, or someone else's property, of making painful accusations based on bias and not fact.
Saturday we celebrate the 4th of July, a day when a new nation was born. Not a perfect nation by any means. But people rallied together to begin a new experiment of the "life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness." We have come to a crossroads where we now realize that these "self-evident truths" must be for everyone, or it means nothing.
We have a painful choice. To continue the American experiment, to include all of God's children who live in our borders. To provide the necessary resources so people can have a meaningful life, to safeguard liberty, and to give everyone, everyone a shot at happiness.
While Independence Day is a secular holiday, our Lord's commandment to love one another, to love the foreigner, speaks to us more boldly than ever. Let the strong rule of love be our guide as we seek to heal the wounds that divide us. Let us repent of whatever part we've played and recommit to bring down the "dividing wall of hostility" (Eph 2:14) that the Evil One goads us to maintain. Let us commit to tear it down, for through the blood of Christ God has made us to be one, remembering above all that Christ is our peace and in him we can fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all God's children.
PRAY: "Teach us to stand for each other, in your name"