For the fourth of July, we had tabbouleh, Greek potato salad, and gazpacho, those traditional American foods we love to make in the summer. The internet suggested this, which also looks good:
The thirteen original English colonies declared their liberation from King George, but didn’t celebrate their use of enslaved Africans whose liberty they didn’t recognize. And they failed to note that the primeval forests they were moving into had once been the bountiful orchards, farms, and hunting grounds of millions of indigenous people, of whom perhaps 5-10% remained.
So liberty is a great thing, our ancestors said, and everyone ought to admire and promote it, but maybe just for people like us.
Jesus was hardly a multicultural or cosmopolitan guy, and mostly stayed close to home, promoting liberty among his own people, but St. Paul and later Christians took their savior at his word and tried to make Christianity a universal religion, not just inside the Roman world, but in Africa, Asia, and India. Eventually Christianity also came to the Americas, but mostly not in a form Jesus would have recognized. Fixing that is our job, and our great-grandchildren will also struggle with it.
Every generation is challenged to see all humans, and indeed all living beings, as worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As Christians, we honor eternal life, the unlimited liberty of God, and the infinite happiness we call the “reign of God.”
Our job as Christians is to help set each other free, family, friends, and strangers, to be more fully themselves. The “perfect” way I spoke about on Sunday. The way God designed us to be.
So St. John’s wishes you a good Thursday, some new recipes as well as delicious leftovers, and eyes to see how we could encourage more life, more liberty, and more chances to pursue the best and most lasting kind of happiness.