"For you were called to freedom brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:13-14 (NRSV)
Today the U.S. will be celebrating freedom, freedom from England, freedom to be a self-determining, democratic state. We will be getting together with a group of missionary friends for a barbecue and just to enjoy being together. We will miss the fireworks, but hey, we get fire crackers almost every day of the week living here in Mexico! As I reflect on my freedoms afforded to me as a U.S. citizen, I am thankful, but I cannot help but think that the U.S. version of freedom just does not add up to God's idea of freedom. Reading the passage from Galatians above, I am struck by the phrase, "...through love become slaves to one another." Freedom is not fully experienced on one's own. So often we think of freedom as "my" rights, not often do we think of freedom as only fully experienced when we are putting another's welfare above our own. My citizenship is officially in the United States of America, but my true citizenship is in God's Kingdom. I feel as if it is so easy for us to confuse Kingdom values with our earthly version of them. But as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:12 "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." So today, if you are an American citizen, but also count yourself as a citizen of God's Kingdom, I challenge you to reflect on the freedom that we were given on the cross, and what it truly means to live in and enjoy that freedom. For, as it says in Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."