FAITH: Be an instigator of inspiration while appreciating freedom
As we embark upon another year of celebrating the declaration of freedom and the birth of a nation, it is important for each of us to consider the value of freedom and how we will intentionally engage in not only being free personally, but intentionally helping others find and value this human right and privilege.
As our nation and culture continues to diversify and change, it seems necessary for a continued discussion of the necessity of freedom so none of us take it for granted and risk losing it without realizing it is gone. I have been privileged in my life to know several amazing people who have immigrated from this country from places where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not possible in their current political and cultural context. These folks appreciate the freedom we have here in America, and they value it because they know what it is like to not be free. Several I know had to wait for long periods of time for the system to provide the proper credentials, and almost all moved to this country with nothing more than a determination to be free and a work ethic to begin life again in a new place.
So many of us, myself included, do not know what it is like to live in a place where the political, cultural, and economic situation is run by fear and oppression with little opportunity to change the situation of birth. Most of us would be shocked at the number of human beings living on this planet today who have never known freedom and live in conditions which make the poor of our country seem like kings. In all of the problems and wrongs existing in our nation, we still have the opportunity to live in a place like no other place on earth, even the history of the world! In my sincere opinion, we should not let the wrongs and disagreements of our politics and culture distract us from what it needs to be free and enjoy freedom.
So, as we gather on July 4th this year, let us reflect on the value of freedom, and also the cost of freedom. We are the United States of America. If this is true, let us be united in celebrating freedom, proclaiming freedom, and united in inviting others to be free. Continue to be “Instigators of Inspiration,” as we inspire others to fully live in the freedom declared 245 years ago! You are Valued and Loved, Pastor Brad
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.