Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you. Deuteronomy 32:7
Today we celebrate 241 years of remembering when our country became an independent country. We remember the sacrifices that were made, and we remember the visions that were dreamed by our ancestors, the first immigrants. And we acknowledge the deep privilege we have been afforded but did not earn, to be able to call ourselves Americans.
Last week along with others from our congregation and a visiting youth group from MN, we heard the story of Bianca, an undocumented immigrant who at the age of 15, fled (or actually, was sent by her family as a matter of survival) from the gangs and violence of her country to America. Her family sacrificed and compromised their lives so that she could have a better life. She told of her life-threatening experiences to cross the border and then what life has been for the past nearly 20 years in the US. Being detained and treated as a criminal, eventually gaining status to stay, but always being reminded that she does not belong, even to the point that she has a black dot on her driver’s license that tells everyone – I’m undocumented and don’t belong.
Bianca’s 10 year old daughter follows Bianca and others around from place to place as Bianca tells her story. But that has only been recently. You see, with the state of our country’s affairs when it comes to who’s welcome and who’s not in this free land, Bianca and others like her, feel compelled to tell their story – to put a face to a name; to put a face to a label – Undocumented.
The text for today comes from Moses song – a song that the Lord put on Moses’ lips to teach to the Israelites so that they would remember where they came from, the generations that went before them, and how the Lord has led them through to this promised land of “milk and honey.” It wasn’t anything that they had done, its wasn’t anything that they had earned. As a matter of fact, it was in spite of what they had done, that the Lord still fulfilled his promise to them. And this song, the Lord said, was to remind them of their story, in the midst of their forgetting and going their own wayward way, which the Lord knew would happen again and again.
I need to be reminded each and every day of the mark that the Lord has made on me, child of God. The mark that names me and claims me to be who I am created to be – to love and serve my neighbor and to be welcoming to all people in the name of Jesus. The mark that reminds me who’s I am.
So, yes, today we celebrate freedom. But not all of us experience freedom in the same way. I choose to celebrate my freedom, being reminded by Martin Luther who wrote in the Freedom of the Christian:
A Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all.
May I remember each day to live this life of freedom, bound to the other. Have a blessed 4th. peace.prL