We celebrated Independence Day this week. We sang patriotic songs, waved flags, wore red, white and blue.
But independence is not an absolute. Our American freedom is a moored freedom, tethered to God and the good of one another: “one nation, under God,” as we say in our pledge of allegiance. We are yoked to one another. As we grow to value our relationships with one another, we will want to make life better for all.
All through the political primaries, we heard claims in conflict with this vision which links independence with interdependence and dependence. Independence without ties to anyone revels in individualism. You live your way, I’ll live mine. Maybe we’ll intersect. Maybe not. Good luck.
But people with no sense of moorings are adrift in a sea of private choices. That is not what our founders wanted for us, nor is it what God wills for us.
God, whom we celebrated a few weeks ago as Trinity, has a rich inner life. God is a community and if we are to grow more fully into the image of God, then we must become, as persons and as a nation, more community-oriented.
The late communications guru, Marshall McLuhan, once told us there are no passengers on spaceship earth. Everybody is crew. Believers go on to say that God is with the crew, and indeed, God is the spirit of the crew.
As we travel on this year through political campaigns and elections, through controversies, joys, tragedies and scientific breakthroughs, through the Olympics and other international events with our companions on spaceship, here are a few questions to ask ourselves now:
- Are you proud of being an American?
- Do you know what it is that makes you most proud?
- Do you tell others how you feel about America at its best and at the moment?
- Have you on occasion felt less than proud to be an American? When?
- Do you act on your beliefs? In what ways?
- Have you acted on your beliefs with repetition, pattern or consistency?
- What will you do in the next six months to affirm America as the home of the tired, the poor, those yearning to breathe free?
These are not just questions for the 4th. It takes a certain passion and even audacity for a believer in God to work on behalf of America’s future.~ Sister Joan Sobala