My pastor opened up something to our congregation this last Sunday that has really, and I mean REALLY, been haunting me in a lot of good ways I think. He talked about why the notion of the 4th of July being “Independence Day” bothers him quite a bit.
We, as American’s have a pretty big king-of-the-world, I-don’t-need-anybody-or-anything attitude. We’re independent Americans. We won our own independence. We’re a superpower. We’re the smartest, biggest, strongest, whatever. ‘Merica.
Now I’m not hating; I’m proud to be an American (where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me). But what my pastor noted about this attitude, about this holiday is interesting; He stated that we should celebrate a lot more of our DEPENDENCE: our dependence on the Lord and our dependence on each other.
I think it’s quite obvious to say that we need God. We were created to be His children and Him, our Father. We’re His DEPENDENTS. And we’re so blessed to have a Father who loves and provides for His kids so well and so unconditionally. We need Him for all things, but I do want to take a moment to really emphasize the latter of my pastors points: our dependence on each other.
We were created for community. We make up the Body of Christ. The hand cannot do all functions for the body, and nor can the foot. Each part is needed to do its job and work TOGETHER. Alongside each other. In tandem. I love reading in the Book of Acts when Paul describes the community that the early church shared. They shared their belongings and their faith and their food and their families and their prayer…. They shared everything. Those who were in need were taken care of and they were one as Christ is one with God. That’s what church community is supposed to be. They were all dependent on the Lord, especially to hold them together and have holiness/holy relationships, etc… but they also depended on each other. And that’s a pretty cool thing.
Yesterday, I came into work and my little “Quote of the Day” calendar said this: “Go often to the house of your friend, for weeds choke up the unused path.” Sunday, Pastor talked about relationships with people with whom we are safe and we know we can seek prayer and counsel and support unconditionally and without judgment, and to cultivate those relationships. Grow those relationships. Maintain those relationships. Because coming into the days we are living in, in this sinful and fallen world, we need each other’s support. We find our strength in the Lord, but we are even stronger when a number of individuals plugged into the joy of God banded together is unbreakable.
The reason I’m writing about this is because it is pretty convicting to me. As open and friendly as I am with people, and without shame regarding my faults and honest about my short-comings, I can be a pretty private person. I admit openly that one of my biggest short-comings is follow up in relationships. I don’t text back sometimes, I don’t call people as often as I should, and I forget to make concrete plans to visit with people. And I have a tendency to allow my pride to push me to do everything myself, even in my marriage and ministry. So if I can encourage you, and to challenge myself this 4th of July to anything it would be to celebrate our dependency on each other, rather than our independence from each other.
Reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while but you know you can trust. Invest in someone who you know trusts you – and be trustworthy. Help a friend in need. Call your grandmother. Etc, etc, etc. I’m sure you get the idea.
And as always, enjoy the fireworks 🙂