Independence Day



Lectionary: 383



On that day, says the LORD, She shall call me “My husband,” and never again “My baal.”
I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.



Recently I heard a very affective love song on the radio. It was from a popular musical -- I have forgotten which one -- and purported to be sung by a rather unattractive woman who has fallen deeply, intensely in love with the protagonist.
The show's producer explained that the whole story hinged upon this song; the audience's sympathy must be transferred from the callous male to this unfortunate woman as they hear her sing and witness her passion.
Her own story, of course, is that she has no choice. She has loved this very beautiful man since she first saw him. Though he scorns her presence, never bestowing a second glance on her, she will die for him -- which she does.
Her song reminded me of how American mythology has misconstrued freedom. We think it's about choice; and even that our freedom is based upon choices, preferably many.
That philosophy is certainly not found in scripture. Christian freedom is based in God's overwhelming, intoxicating love for us. Realizing how he loves us, seeing the death and resurrection of Jesus, his breathing the Holy Spirit upon us, his Pentecostal fire descending upon us, and cleansed of our sins by his purifying bath, we simply run toward him. How could any sane person resist that?
If we hesitate it's only because we have not seen, touched or felt that Mercy despite its omnipresence, perhaps because of traumatizing blockages we have suffered. Sin has created suspicion and reluctance in me.
That sin is my own and those of others, for we're all in this together and the boundaries between us are never true obstacle. If I am wary of grace it may be because everyone around me is also skittish in God's presence. Likewise, some cannot trust God because of my abuse of them. We fear losing our freedom even as freedom beckons us to love.

On July 4, Americans loudly thank God for freedom, even as people of every nation thank God for theirs. It's a fighting word that seems to lack any definition. Certainly the rights to shop till you drop, bear arms, abort babies, and marry whatever you want to marry hardly seem worth defending, much less killing for.   

As we conclude the Catholic observance of the Fortnight of Freedom, honoring our First Amendment right to worship, we do well to declare once again with Saint Peter, Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.