Dependence is also an important value. Jesus tells us that our lives our not our own; they are only found by being given away. Reliance on God, not bread alone, keeps us alive. Our lives are reclaimed by stripping away what is on the outside to sit naked before our loving God.
The dictionary defines independence, which we celebrate this weekend, as "freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others." (Dictionary.com) While the United States' independence from the control of the crown opened a noble experiment in self-governance, "independence" is not a good way for individuals to live -- mainly because it is not real. We are each shaped by parents and family, influenced by teachers and friends, supported in time of need and able to respond to others in need. Our real lives are interdependent, lived in community with neighbors and children and governments as well as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So while you are getting together with others for BBQs and fireworks, consider this great idea from the people at the Englewood Review of Books: Celebrate Interdependence Day!
Their blog post lists 40 different ways that you can celebrate the ways that you and your family depend on the gifts and talents of your neighbors (and people around the world) and on the local ecosystem (and the global environment). Here are a couple of my favorites:
- Gather your neighbors and do a spontaneous parade that shows off people’s talents – music, acrobatics, costumes, etc.
- Visit an elderly neighbor or family member. Have them tell you the story of their life.
- Look for everything you have two of and give one away.
- Hold a knowledge exchange where people gather and each get ten minutes to teach the group about something they’re passionate about.
- Spend the 4th of July baking cookies or bread. Give your baked goods to the person who delivers your mail or picks up your trash the next time you see them.
Read the entire list here. What are your favorites? Got better ideas? Let us know in the comments.
- Write a note of appreciation to a mother; thank her for raising a child.
We are truly blessed in the US. We are able to worship, work, love, live, vote and consume pretty much the way we want. Our system is not perfect; no system is. We are able to celebrate the times we are a light to others, and to question when we do not live up to our best. That kind of independence is healthy for a nation. As citizens and as Christians, we are blessed to be both interdependent with each other and with the world, and ultimately dependent on our gracious and merciful God.