Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” -2 Corinthians 3:17
This evening you may have the opportunity to sit back, relax, and watch some fireworks. Fireworks really are an astounding form of entertainment.
In many cases you can see them from your backyard. We have little sense of how much effort goes into designing those fireworks, of what it takes to get the colors and the shapes just the way they need to be. This doesn’t even bring into consideration the timing, or the care that goes into spacing out the explosions at perfect intervals. Anyway, you get it.
The point is, as we’re folding up our lawn chairs and making our way back into the house, we’ll likely be off to the next thing. There may be a passing comment like, “Oh, that was nice.” Or, “The fireworks were much better last year, I blame it on the budget cuts.” But… will we consider all the effort it takes to produce that annual 4th of July experience? I suppose we could all stand to be a little more appreciative, and the fireworks are just the tip of the iceberg.
The produce arrayed in the grocery store, the well curated selection of books at the local library, the Mozart played by the community band, and the perfectly paved roads that conveniently convey us to all those various venues… they don’t just happen. There is great effort and investment behind so much of what we simply, “take for granted.”
Could the same be said for our appreciation of God’s work in the world? How much of God’s goodness, beauty, and blessing do we simply assume will be there for us when we need it?
We may notice an empty cross in front of the sanctuary, what kind of effort and intention went into making that symbol as powerful as it is? Bread and wine are transformed into a life-giving sacrament, what makes that gift of empowerment possible? We reach for the Bible and hold a truly sacred text in our earthly hands, who was behind that source of inspiration and direction?
We really do have so much to be grateful for… and perhaps more readily appreciating the work that is always being done around us will draw us toward deeper gratitude toward the Divine, a Triune God that is also always at work among us.
Question for reflection: Can you think of something that would be easy to take for granted, but you simply could not live without?
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, as we celebrate on this day, remind us that freedom is complex. Inspire us as we consider all that we have been freed from and all that we have been freed for. We are indeed free from sin, and in that forgiveness, have been bound to our neighbor service. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.