Unlike 2020, this year’s July Fourth celebrations will occur with a bit more normalcy. Backyard barbeques, sparklers, ice cream, water balloon fights, and fireworks will all be experienced with more appreciation in light of the pandemic.
For Jesus’ followers, the celebration of July Fourth comes with mixed emotions.
For one, we know that our freedom is first and foremost found in Christ alone. It is easy to swap the freedom found only in Jesus with temporal freedom that seems intoxicatingly more liberating.
We know that living in America is a blessing with the many rights and freedoms, but America does not supplant God’s Kingdom and the work of God’s church. And while it is easy to believe that God can become the mascot of one nation or political parties, we know that God is the God of all nations and peoples.
The Biblical word for freedom is eleutheria, which means liberation, especially from slavery. The freedom afforded to us through Jesus Christ is liberation from the countless forms of human sin and brokenness. We are invited to experience hope, joy, peace, joy, goodness, kindness, and love through God's grace.
Such freedom is not just intended for us to experience spiritually and personally, for it is an empowering call to action to be a part of redeeming God’s world.
Unlike the many expressions of freedom created by humankind, Jesus’ freedom is genuinely for all people, expressed best when he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon to preach good news to the poor, recovery of sight for the blind, freedom for the prisoner, and to set the oppressed free.”
Freedom is an empowering call to action to give the impoverished realistic hope, a road to redemption for those shackled by the throws of addiction, truth to those blinded by their bigoted worldview, and freedom for those experiencing the many forms of oppression. So let us celebrate the freedom of Jesus, beckoning us to fo the good work of seeing all experience it too.