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God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love which will carry us through opposition.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
July 4th feels different for me this year. Rather than celebrating an event in the past, it seems we have the opportunity to recognize and create a “re-start.” Sometimes I forget that what July 4th historically did was set our nation on a journey with hopes and dreams to be realized. However, the journey was never completed, but rather still continues.
These past few months have taught us many things about ourselves as a society and as individuals. COVID-19 has shown us how vulnerable we are; how challenging it is to focus on the “common good” versus our own individual liberties; and the inequities of communities where some are suffering much more than others. We have also had the harsh realities of racism made even more visible.
But challenging times also provide opportunities for new learnings and new responses. Churches have discovered new ways to be the church without relying on a building for focus. We have discovered that the environment is healthier when our daily lives do not produce as much pollution. We realize how important our physical human interactions are. Yet we have also discovered that technology can provide ways to deepen our connections and understandings, while allowing us to be more aware of the realities of others.
Approaching July 4th, I am hopeful for a renewed push that will help us build a country based on the values that we see in the Declaration of Independence – “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
To celebrate July 4th, not only means celebrating these foundational words, but also a commitment to create a country that reflects them: acknowledging the wrongs of the past and making the changes that allow us to work diligently toward creating something new. Of course, this is not just for our country, but for our global world in which we live together.
May the Spirit of love and courage carry us forward through the uncertainties and the opposition so that we might reflect the hope of our Creator.
Blessings, Char Burch
Transitional Conference Minister