I am especially proud of, and this year will celebrate, being a part of a country and a culture after days like last Friday. With our Supreme Court ruling in favor of the legality of same sex marriage, there is certainly reason to hope that the equality our forbears dreamed of is closer to reality for all people than before last Friday. And although our United Methodist denomination remains conflicted about this issue, I hope somewhere this weekend somebody finds a way to shoot off rainbow colored fireworks alongside the red, white and blue ones.
One of the things about the 4th of July you can’t help but notice is all the flags that are flying. Most of them are of course the stars and stripes, but there will be some others. I’m very encouraged by the reaction of many, especially in the south, who have questioned the flying of the Confederate battle flag as a close second symbol of what we are celebrating this weekend. Without getting into all of the muddy waters of this discussion, I’ll just add that our history has proven that it will always be difficult to be “one nation,” under God or anything else.
At church we often have a sort of “it is what it is,” attitude about this weekend. What that means is that we recognize that all of us have conflicted loyalties. On the 4th of July weekend most of us will decide to be up at the cabin or at some family member’s home or at least this year, staying in bed after the late night of fireworks. In case you miss it, how we balance the Holiday…. Holy Day conundrum at worship will be by reminding ourselves that when loyalties are conflicted God is not limited to our constitution or foreign policy or our best interest.
This Sunday we will hear the beginning of the story of Ruth. Ruth was a foreigner… a Moabite who came back to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi after they both became widows. In its time, the story of Ruth was quite scandalous. Ruth ends up being the great-great-grandmother or something like that of the great King David. This may not mean much to you, but if I could take some historical liberties, it would be like saying that George Washington was really the great-great-grandson of African American/Hispanic immigrant parents or something like that. This story tells us that God’s promises are not limited to one nation, and that as difficult as it can sometimes be, we live in an interdependent world.
I hope you have a great 4th of July weekend.
Keep the Faith,