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How Do We Celebrate the 4th of July in 2020?

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
— Matthew 11:28-30

I think that as we prepare for this holiday, it comes with burdens. For some folks, having to wear a mask is a burden. Staying 6 feet away from each other seems like a challenge. Washing your hands several times a day is trying at best. And yet, as people of faith who care for the neighbor as Jesus has told us, it is what we must do in this time.

So where is freedom for this 4th of July? There is freedom in knowing that we can care for our neighbor. There is freedom in the midst of everything that is going on around us, we have a God who is willing to help us carry the burdens.

To take the yoke that Jesus talks about is different from what we may think of a yoke. We think of a yoke as the way that animals, and sometimes humans, have been used to carry the weight of what needs to be moved or plowed. It takes strength and energy to wear a yoke.

But here is the thing: the yoke is not to be worn alone. There is another that bears the burden. Jesus tells us the yoke he sets before us as his disciples is easy and the burden is light. In that message there is freedom.

I remember as a youth I sang in a group in school “Freedom isn’t free. Freedom isn’t free. You have to pay the price; you have to sacrifice. For your liberty.” The last verse ends with “You’re free to give humanity your very best.” Wondering about that song, I am thinking about how it reflects current issues around racism and injustices. Do some have to pay the price because others don’t speak up?

As I have mentioned, I am in this process with the synod of looking at racism, and freedom is not free for those who do not have a voice, who are seen as less than those who have privilege. How do I as a white woman need to help seek justice for people of color? For we all bleed red blood, right?

Let us live our best humanity for the family, for our siblings in Christ, and for the neighbor. Celebrate with shouts of praise for joy for what we do have, and leave those burdens behind. Let us use our voices for good for all. For in doing so, you will find rest for your soul.

Be safe, be well, and be hope for each other.

Pastor Cynthia Schnaath

Tags: Weekly Word