What is freedom? What does it mean to you to “be free”? Is it free to do whatever you want? Free to worship and believe what you feel is right for you? Free to speak your passions and beliefs? Freedom from worry, stress, anxiety, fear? Free to create, do a job, have a career and family, live the life you want to live? Or does being free mean you have the freedom to be who you are called to be? Are you spiritually free?
Political theorists, historians, and judges have written about freedom and what it means to live in the democratic republic of the United States. Court cases issued by learned jurists interpreting the meaning of the Constitution try to balance the common good while ensuring individual freedom.
It is not my desire today to rehash or critique these writings here. I leave that for political pundits, constitutional scholars, historians, and politicians. Through the next week most Americans celebrate the founding of our nation 242 years ago. On July 4, 1776, after weeks of haggling over language and concepts, the Continental Congress declared independence from the British empire. A new nation, conceived in liberty, was born – the United States of America. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence
We gather with friends, family, and our communities for picnics, parades, concerts and fireworks to celebrate July 4th, Independence Day. Throughout the next week, I hope you will have some time to ponder, pray with, discuss, and maybe even write about the questions I posed at the beginning of today’s blog.
Another challenge may be to slowly read the Declaration of Independence. What stands out to you? What challenges you? What feelings do you experience reading the Declaration? What does Life, Liberty, Happiness mean to you? If you were to write your own declaration of independence what would it say?
May you all have a blessed and safe Independence Day. May our communities, our nation and our world honor and respect all human beings and our inherent rights to Life, Liberty and Happiness.