Heather’s Weekly Word

7/3/20

A blessed July to you! Here in the US, it is our nation’s birthday month. July 4th is the day we commemorate the moment 13 colonies, after over a year of protesting; rioting; destruction of property; wasting a lot of good tea; and taking up violent, armed resistance against their government; declared independence from England for their white land-holding male citizens, launching the formation of what has become the United States.

In a June 7 session of the Continental Congress at the Pennsylvania State House, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a the now famous words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” Freedom!

“Freedom” is a popular American word. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of my favorite theologians, teachers, and justice activists, writes in his book, The Insecurity of Freedom, about the important distinction and balance between “freedom from” and “freedom to.” In a maturing spiritual life, we strive to find balance between dependence and independence. As we live in community (and nations) together, it turns out that the fulfillment of independence we so cherish is dependent on the commitment and covenantal behavior of our neighbors—a mutually honoring interdependence.

Being dependent and independent are deeply and inextricably intertwined in our interdependent lives. It seems that in recent months and years we have begun to awaken anew to just how fragile that interdependence can be, how reliant it is upon the agreement of others to acknowledge, respect, and protect each participant’s autonomous, sacred, personhood. In this next year of our lives together, I pray that we as a nation deepen our appreciation for our collective interdependence. None of us is truly free until all of us are truly free. Happy Fourth. May God bless the continued birthing of this nation.

Love, blessings, and hope,

Pastor Heather