Happy 4th of July weekend! I wonder how this particular year's celebration finds you? It is a tumultuous time, certainly if we follow the news headlines. Yet even as consequential currents events are, doesn't it feel like we have been living through tumultuous times for some years now? Perhaps we have grown accustomed to it, normalized it even. How then might we remember a bigger story than the one our present time is telling us?
One of the enduring gifts of the church is how it enables us to return to the source of who we are over and over. We tell the same biblical stories, we follow the same cycle of the church's year from Advent to Pentecost, as Episcopalians we even follow a largely predictable pattern of worship Sunday by Sunday. This ongoing return to the tradition that shapes us enables us to ground the vicissitudes of everyday life within something deeper than the sound of our anxiety and our struggle for control over change.
The life of faith in community also orients us to hope. Hope is not the same as comfort, nor is it another word for the expectation that we will get what we want. Hope is the strength we feel when our determination to affirm life and goodness is greater than our fear of loss and pain. We might even think of it as the divine spark that reanimated Jesus from the grave. We witness it all around us. I suspect this divine spark has been at work in those who have struggled for the freedom this nation espouses from its modern inception to the present day. To celebrate freedom this weekend is also to celebrate the power of this God-given gift of hope. May we be good stewards of that gift for the sake of all the people who call this country home.