Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Freedom is a deeply held value for most Americans. We see this privilege in our annual Fourth of July celebrations. It’s worth noting that our nation was founded upon the idea that God created all human beings to be free; indeed, our Declaration of Independence states that people “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I’m reminded daily not to take my liberties for granted. I know that those around the world who know freedom appreciate it, while people who are not free long to escape imprisonment and live unfettered. Freedom and independence allow us to choose values that reflect our faith and our personal beliefs. I’m grateful for our freedom as Americans, particularly for our religious freedom. God has gifted us with the freedom to choose. The Bible is rife with accounts of people searching for free will as early as Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. God reminds us of our freedom in the life of Jesus. From a spiritual standpoint, we continually seek to balance our freedom with a healthy reliance upon God; we seek to choose those things that are both best for us and pleasing to God. Another important part of being free includes choosing to depend on others or seeking guidance from other sources to ensure we use our freedom well. Interdependence doesn’t dismiss our greater freedom. Forming relationships with others we can depend on helps us live our best lives. I have come to depend on God and on our church family in a variety of ways. Seeking God's will in scripture, tradition, and through our community of faith helps us stay on a straight path. As we celebrate independence and freedom this holiday, we can also celebrate choosing God and community with one another. I pray for a safe and happy 4th of July for our Ascension family. Let freedom ring!