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Monday, July 05, 2010

Independence Day, the 4th of July

The infusion of new Americans, the spirit of the World Cup USA National team, and our impending return to visit America for the first time in 3 1/2 years . . .all led to a 4th of July celebration such as has not been seen since the days of Joanna Stewart. Amy did face paint and provided the party, Anna had the kids make headbands and batons and march to a Wee Sing America album, the team pitched in creatively to come up with hamburgers and cole slaw and baked beans and watermelon and even home made ice cream. There was a hoola hoop contest and a three-legged race in which Julia + Anna-the-intern narrowly edged out Jack + Anna-the-teacher. No one but Aidan wanted to run with me, so we had a good time cheering on the sideline.
Since the day fell on a Sunday, Travis asked us to think of songs and Scriptures along the theme of "freedom". And the song that keeps running through our minds with that word is a Michael Card ballad about various disciples leaving their fishing nets to come to work with Jesus . . "It's hard to imagine the freedom you'll find, from the things . . you leave behind." That's the freedom we're pursuing, the freedom in Luke 14. It's the cost-counting freedom of choosing discipleship over any human relationship, or community, or work, or income, or place. It's the freedom that still feels elusive, though I'm down to one 16-kg red duffel to carry with me, and about five trunks of random papers, books, clothes, pottery, sewing and art materials, and other stuff to come later on our first trip back.
How does freedom from the tyranny of possessions fit with American Independence Day? I think the link is . . war. Something besides God always wants to dominate our time, our hearts, our thoughts, our priorities. And freedom-to (worship, vote, work, move) only comes after freedom-from. And the freedom-from only comes with struggle. That's the cost we count. That's the war that was fought by colonists, not that they did everything right, but that they were willing to lay down lives for a cause they saw as just. That's the daily taking up the cross, the boldness to say that something intangible is more real and more important than whatever we're called to crucify.
Independence is not really the goal of our lives anyway, but dependence upon the right things: prayer, friendship, community, family . . truth. Jesus said: you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So this process of purging is really a process of truth, the truth that our life is not found in this stuff, the truth that following Jesus is worth more than keeping hold of this life we've worked so hard to carve out.
Happy 4th of July.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

ahh, man...
We have a tradition of hosting a big fourth of july party here in Prague too, last year I made 80 hamburger buns from scratch!

But this year...I did nothing! I totally forgot about it!
Laura and I had a big salad for dinner...Listening to our favorite american women singer-songwriters and then watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which seemed American enough.


I made up for it tonight with a blueberry cobbler, strawberries on the side with vanilla gelato from the Italian restaurant down the street! Ah well...