Today is Independence Day in the US. It feels strange to call it “Independence Day” because we usually refer to the holiday simply as the “Fourth of July” (even Wikipedia says so), but then again, it’s the fourth of July everywhere, so I’ve been feeling the need to make the distinction lately.
Referring to this holiday is “Independence Day” rather than simply the Fourth has also allowed me to think of the day more liturgically. This year I really loved the idea of Mother’s Day not only being a day to celebrate our earthly mothers, but also an invitation to celebrate the Divine as our heavenly mother—an image so often overlooked and even rejected.
I’d like to think that Independence Day has a similar invitation, too. Certainly it invites us to remember the history of the United States, the freedom we have, and those who have fought for that freedom—both abroad and at home. But it can also serve as an annual invitation to not only remember independence gained in the past, but to declare personal independence in the present.
Today I’ll be joining friends for a cookout and to watch fireworks, just like the rest of the United States. I might even be inspired by the sounds of a brass band to sing a patriotic tune. But I’ll also be celebrating freedom beyond an eighteenth century document and revolution. The independence I’ll be declaring—and the freedom I’ll be celebrating—will also be my own.
No matter where you live in the world, today I invite you do join me in the practice of declaring your own independence from whatever weighs you down in life and celebrating what brings you freedom.
(Unfortunately, though, you might still have to go to work.)
How can you declare independence from whatever weighs you down in life? What brings you freedom? Leave your response in the comments.
PS: I should probably add a disclaimer about the photo and say that by sharing a photo with the absence of the US flag on a post about Independence Day I’m not trying to make any sort of statement. But I will say that I automatically have great affection and respect for whoever lives in a house that hangs a pirate flag on their flagpole. With playfulness like that, I have a feeling they know a little about freedom and declaring independence from the things that weigh them down in life.