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Pre-Independence Day BBQ

Pre-Independence Day BBQ

This is 4th of July weekend. It is one of if not my favorite holidays of the year. This weekend we celebrate our independence.

And yet for many people in our area, there is no independence. There are many who feel like they have no independence to celebrate. There are many who feel dependent. Unwillingly dependent.

Some are dependent on drugs. They made a bad choice a long time ago. They gave in to peer pressure or they chose to deal with hurt the wrong way. In any case, they’ve been hooked for years. They thought they were in control. By the time they learned they weren’t, it was too late. They’re dependent on a substance that’s killing them slowly. Those who want out can’t seem to get out. And those who don’t want out have fallen so far into their dependence they can’t even remember what independence was like.

Some are dependent on family and friends. For one reason or another they haven’t been able to make it independently. They feel like they’ve failed. And maybe they have. Now they live their life depending on others to do things for them or give them things. Every day they live with the fearful possibility that their welcome will run out and they will be pushed away. They will be left alone.

Some are dependent on handouts. Those “handing out” don’t like it. Those dependent on the handout don’t like it either. Nevertheless, that is the life they have. They spend their time standing on street corners with signs and cups. They spend their time in line at soup kitchens and shelters. They spend their time looking for the next handout. And a handout is all they’ve got. Their eyes are shamefully heavy. They live their life in the margins of the world. Their life is for the most part a wasted life. Not because they proactively are wasting it. But because their life is wasting away as time goes by; they see no choice. It seems all they can do is stand and wait for the next handout. Their gifts, their dreams, their potential… wasted. Unused. Unappreciated. Unvalued.

The announcement of the Kingdom of God is that there is hope. For the addict there is healing. For the failure there is a second chance. For the marginalized there is value and treasure beyond words. We are all, every person, created images of a Holy, beautiful, creative and loving God. God may be invisible to our eyes. But we have the chance to see reflections of him in every person we cross paths with. And we have the opportunity to love Him with every eye we look into, with every hand we embrace, with every ear we lend.

How will you celebrate your independence? And how will you encourage and celebrate the independence of others? Whether you are in town this weekend or not, whether you have the opportunity to go up north or to a family BBQ or just stay home and enjoy the long weekend, remember the grace we have been given in our independence. Remember that there are still those who are fighting for their independence. Remember that you, every one of you and me, can make a real difference in this world and the next. It is our choice. Will we join the fight?

Let us celebrate our independence. Joyfully. And let us not neglect fighting for the independence of our brothers and sisters who have yet to gain theirs.

I hope to see each of you this weekend at 2nd & Selden. If you’re going up north or can’t come, remember our dependent brothers and sisters in prayer. Prayer is perhaps the greatest weapon in our arsenal.

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