Today, 235 years ago, Jefferson's famous and world changing document was read publicly for the first time on the streets of Philadelphia. Jefferson, along with his coauthors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and his cosigners George Washington and John Hancock, knew that the Declaration of Independence from King George III had the potential to change the world forever. Not just the lives on individuals, but the course of nations and world history. I'm not convinced they would believe that their radical experiment in freedom and liberty was still here.
Today, as I sat in the car at 7AM driving to Boston with the hopes of seeing the Boston Pops and the fireworks on the Esplanade in person rather than the CBS special, I was reminded of how this experiment in liberty and freedom has changed over the years, how we have received and denied this freedom and liberty. I was reminded of 1963 and King's Dream. And I quote:
It is only with faith in Christ thatwe will be free and our Congolese Sisters will be free. With faith, we can break the chains of our Sisters who have called on us to help. With faith, we can show them that they are loved, that they are beautiful, that they are God's daughters, that they are our Sisters. As I sat today at the Pops concert, country star Martina McBride sang her song "Independence Day," a song that focuses on the abuse of women, singing "roll the stone away / It's Independence Day." I declare to you that today, tomorrow, and in the years to come will be Independence Day for our Congolese Sisters and the stone will be rolled away in their lives through Christ and the Word.I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."...With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
It is American to think our own freedom, but we are called to look outside of ourselves, outside of our nation, to see those who have called upon us to help bring freedom. As I talked about a few weeks ago, our worldly freedom is a blessing, but our heavenly freedom is the only freedom that brings us into a deeper relationship with Christ and ultimately, eternal life with the triune. Many of these women, men, and children don't know this freedom-an obvious observation from my time in the Ugandan refugee camp for Congolese nationals. The Congolese whom we have met along the way in Charlottesville and Portland now know our worldly and heavenly freedom; their sisters, sadly, do not.
Today while at the Red Sox game (which was a great time had by myself, Mark, Marianne, and Gordon), we sang "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch. As I stood there, singing a song that, to be frank, I don't care much for, I began to wonder if our Congo sisters ask for God to bless their nation. I imagine they do, but I know others cannot even begin to fathom that God could do that.
So as I head off to bed this morning after an amazing Fourth of July experience in Boston, which could only have been made better through a delicious cup of New England Clam Chowder (aka "chowda"), I, on behalf of the team, once again declare what some of our sisters cannot:
God Bless the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In Christ's love,