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Statue Of Liberty, Statue, New York, Independence4th of July, 2020.  Normally this is a holiday spent with extended family and at massive community gatherings.  It is a day we contemplate our history and patriotism.  Between social distancing and reexamining our history, this year I feel a little adrift.  Then I saw a piece online about the things people from other countries find praiseworthy about the US.

And that made me think.  What are the things that I thank God for about this country?

  1. Freedom of speech.  As a writer, this is a big one for me.  But really?  It is a big one.  We have the freedom to speak up and speak out.
  2. Freedom of religion.  We worship at the church where I grew up. As a kiddo, we were one of two non-Catholic families in my neighborhood.  In addition to all types of Christian churches, there are now a mosque and a wat.
  3. Diversity.   We live in the community where my husband and I grew up.  It is so much more diverse than it was when we were kids and, in reality, so much more because of it.
  4. From sea to shining sea.  I have always loved the mountains, especially desert mountains.  Vast white pine forests.  Rolling farmland.  The wide Mississippie River.  Our nation encompasses so many natural wonders, all gifts from God.
  5. My Online Community.  The internet and groups like this blog have enabled us to better weather the social isolation of 2020.  I’m not saying it has been easy but I keep thinking back to prairie homesteads and farmhouse winters.  People were so much more isolated than we are today.

This may not be the 4th of July that we are used to but God has given us many blessings to celebrate.  I’m sure you can think of two or three I haven’t listed.  Why not add them below?

–SueBE

As we celebrate our country tomorrow, let us not forget our commitment to justice. If, indeed, we are a Christian country, where is God in the hierarchy of what we do, how we treat others, how we present ourselves to the world? I suspect that in our eagerness for self-importance, we have put God at the “less than” side of things.

Stuck at the mean, sharp point of the equation,
God is not diminished. We seek skyrockets; God
makes stars. We long for parades, boots on the ground,
a tank or two to feel less tiny. Meanwhile, time marches on,
grander than all the spectacles we muster. And at the far shore,
God watches, waits. Freedom is a thought too big, it must be
reduced, like loyalty, like love. God sits in the open bracket,
alone. We are held in her hand, blessed by bounty, blinking,
blinded by what we think we’ve made. One nation under God:
below, beneath. Not above. Until we know this, we do not figure,
despite our calculations.

It seems like justice should be easier to achieve.  Why can’t we get the supplies to Puerto Rico that the people so badly need?  And get these supplies off the docks and out into the country itself?  Why do Americans have to go overseas for life saving surgery?  Why does the ACLU have to get involved before a city requires just action from its police force.

The reality is that it is a lot easier for us to look after our own self interests.  To ask ourself ‘what is this going to cost?’ instead of ‘who is this going to save?’

God knew that.  Christ knew that which is why he reminded his disciples – this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  (John 15: 12).

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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