Fourth of July and a reason to celebrate freedom
A Christian Science perspective.
Fourth of July celebrations move me to think more deeply about freedom. Independence is defined as freedom from dependence on or control by another person, organization, or state. The United States' Declaration of Independence says that all people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Just think. Unalienable rights. That means rights that cannot be taken away.
The spiritual freedom described in that document of 1776 goes way beyond backyard barbecues, parades, and other American celebrations. It even goes beyond government proclamations about the holiday. It’s a reminder of God’s eternal law. Behind the politics and the historical events, it is a spiritual, universal statement of truth when it acknowledges that rights given by the Creator are unalienable, not transferable. Everyone, everywhere, deserves to celebrate the eternal gifts of life, liberty, and happiness every day.
One of Jesus’ well-loved statements elaborates on the idea of freedom: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Free from what? To me he meant free from believing that our God-given perfection is not unalienable and that it could be taken away.
The truth is that creation is the expression of the Creator, who is perfect. Jesus’ life example indicates how well he knew this. His healing work shows that he refused to believe that imperfection had any right to overtake anyone’s experience, whether it appeared as lack, sickness, sin, or even death.
Christian Science explains that if Jesus had believed that God’s gift of perfection wasn’t universal, permanent, and ever present, he couldn’t have healed anyone of anything. But Jesus was radical in his thinking. He showed that God didn’t create anything unlike Himself, and therefore couldn’t burden His creation with anything unloving, unintelligent, or less than perfect in any way.
Jesus understood and claimed his divine rights, and in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, encouraged us to do the same. She wrote: “Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth [God] makes man free ” (p. 225). A little further on, she proclaimed: “Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right” (p. 227).
This year as Americans celebrate Independence Day, how could we not be mindful of the dramatic turmoil in the Middle East, where citizens of the world are rebelling against oppression? Isn’t it everyone’s divine right to be free?
My prayer is that the inspiration from the celebrations we so cherish lead us also to pray for those who are seeking the same freedom elsewhere. From my study of “Science and Health” I’m learning more and more of the infinite possibilities of prayer to meet all human needs. As it says, "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals” (p. 13). Prayer is not limited by space and time, because prayer is communion with God, and God is not limited by anything. This means that our freedom – and everyone’s – is without limits. There is plenty to go around.
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