United to one another with pure affection
This phrase from our collect for this Sunday has an interesting resonance in this week following the celebration of our country’s Independence Day. I watched as my Facebook feed was inundated with the colors of red, white and blue; pictures of food, picnics and barbeques; and marching bands, parades and fireworks. But not all was celebration.
There were also articles and posts that came from those who feel excluded and not a part of the celebration of liberty and freedom. My native friends struggle with the celebration for obvious reason. How does one celebrate the declaration of independence that lead to the deprivation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for one’s way of life? The Washington Post carried a story this week of a girl’s robotics team from Afghanistan who were denied entry into the U.S. for a world competition. Ironic? I watched a video presentation from young black men and women who feel their lives threatened and unable to celebrate the freedoms I celebrated.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t partake or find enjoyment in these moments. I have a deep desire to wave the flag and I love a good parade. And seriously, I’m always up for a amazing display of fireworks. But we also have serious work to do. Serious responsibilities to engage in the life and work of our nation and labor to accomplish the beliefs and truths within that declaration for all, and especially those who were not included in that declaration.
And as Christians the work is greater and deeper. Our discipleship calls us to something greater than our civic duties or patriotic celebrations. Our faith invites us to strive for justice and peace for all, by loving our neighbor.
My experience has been that when I engage in the work of loving my neighbor and striving for justice alongside them, I feel the weight of this burden is lightened. We are all invited to take on the yoke of Christ, and promised that when we do, we will find rest.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew11:30