Today, July 4 is an important day in the USA. We celebrate the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thirteen colonies became independent from a country we no longer agreed with. We celebrate our freedom.
As we celebrate differently this year due to COVID-19 Corona virus, there are not many big groups for parades, picnics, fireworks, etc. More people are doing fireworks in their driveways tonight. I can hear the booming of displays in our neighborhood. Many people invited others over this year to share in their displays. Independent doesn't mean alone. Our forefathers worked together to create our independence and identity separate from the King and Britain.
We usually strive for independence. Especially as we get older. As parents, we strive to get our kids to a point where they can handle life on their own.
I have been thinking the past few days though that sometimes I become TOO independent. Maybe you do too? I usually notice it most when I have tried to do life on my own. Again. Still.
My independence often comes at the expense of my leaning less on God. We are not meant to do life on our own. God, our families, and our friends can help us not to be dependent, but also not to be SO independent that we start to think we handle everything on our own. I know that even when I THINK I am, I'm not really.
Thankfully, God does not let me get too far off the path that I stop acknowledging I am not doing life independently. Today, I also celebrate my in-dependence of God, our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus: sent to truly set us free.
The really awesome thing is that God doesn't NEED me or you. He WANTS us. He made us in His image. Sparkle on, my friends. Today. And everyday. When our final Grand Finale comes, will you be ready?
1 Corinthians 12:4-13 The Message (MSG)God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
healing the sick
distinguishing between spirits
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
1 Corinthians 12:19-26 The Message (MSG)
But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?
You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.