On Tuesday we celebrate our independence…our freedom.

The word, freedom, always reminds me of songwriter/performer Richie Havens; who recently passed away.  For me, Richie Havens personifies freedom via a song he wrote, on stage, live at Woodstock, after being asked by the promoters to extend his set until the next performer, I believe, Jimi Hendrix arrived.  His response was, “I don’t have any more songs to perform!”  They just shrugged their shrugged their shoulders.  So, he goes back on stage and comes up with an iconic song “Freedom” that you could not imagine he had written, while he was performing it.

I don’t understand why people would even want to threaten to leave our country.  Sure, we have a lot to work on and fix, but we still have our freedom.  We still have our rights under a very strong constitution.  We have a great, great country.

The ultimate gift of freedom comes from our Lord.  Free will.  I tell people that it can be a  gift and a curse…it’s up to us how we exercise it through our actions.  The curse, of course, comes from the actions we choose, in that it turns us away from God.

So, I know a person who is a member of a protestant church.  A denomination, divided in two, that has a conservative and liberal belief system.  The church the she and her husband attends is the liberal direction.  She once told me that she likes the pastor and congregation but wished they would follow the mainstream denomination’s conservative agenda.  I didn’t tell her this, but in my mind I’m thinking…well…leave.  She has the freedom and free will to do whatever she wants.

My point is, I know I have had the freedom to make my choices over the years and am so happy I came to my senses, discovering God’s love,  that I finally have chose the right path.  It’s like what Jesus said in the gospel:

Matthew 10:37-39  “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Strong!  It doesn’t get any clearer than that.  Using the example of my friend, above, she must think about putting what is right (God) before the love of her pastor…who teaches contrary to some of God’s intentions.  She has the freedom to make the switch.  She has the free will.  I pray for all that they have the fortitude to make the choice that will bring them eternal salvation…just like you and I have.

I wish everyone a very happy, safe and enjoyable 4th of July.

God Bless

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