We celebrate American independence today.  56 men signed their names declaring separation from a King who had used his power for oppression, rather than service, of the people of the American colonies.

Baltimore Star Spangled Banner celebration, September 2014

Baltimore Star Spangled Banner celebration, September 2014

At the time, it was something of a novel idea.  A social contract, in which a government is set up to protect and defend its people in exchange for reasonable submission to its authority.  Still today, the implementation of such a contract is novel and perhaps somewhat rare, for there are still autocrats and dictators and warlords using their power to ravage their lands and destroy their peoples.

I am grateful to live in a country where we can participate in our governance through civic action, voting, and much more.  I am grateful for the ways this American experiment has brought much good into the world.  I am grateful for this citizenship I have in this nation.

I am a dual citizen, it must be said, with a higher allegiance to a Kingdom of God.  And as we celebrate with fireworks and barbecues, I cannot forget that the work of freedom is not done.  There is yet slavery, there is yet injustice, there is yet suffering.  There is yet freedom to be won for countless millions of souls.  I repent of my tendency to rest in my comfort instead of moving outwards and using what resources I have to seek rescue for others.

I believe in a God who, for freedom, has set us free.  I believe in a God who "binds up the brokenhearted, [proclaims] liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."  It is an ongoing, messy work that I cannot fully comprehend.  But He is doing this and invites us, complicated mess that we are, to join Him.

Celebrate the light that shines!

Then let it shine all the more in the darkness which so desperately needs it.