16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Today we celebrate Independence Day as a nation. I am grateful to live in the USA. I hold a deep appreciation for the freedoms we have. And while our American independence came in separating from a ruling monarchy, I wonder if we haven’t taken the idea of independence too far in the US. Self-sufficiency has very little to do with God’s kingdom. God draws us toward each other, toward interdependence.
We don’t learn to become interdependent by pushing other people away. Instead, we move toward others, especially people on the fringe. Jesus was a master at this. He demonstrated moving outward, toward others, not away from them. And Jesus was already part of the trinitarian community. He lived in perfect harmony with God as the Father and God as the Holy Spirit. In his ministry, Jesus quickly gathered a group of disciples and surrounded himself with a group of people to share work and life with. And if ever there was someone who didn’t need others, it was Jesus. He certainly could have walked the earth alone, doing his work, avoiding those annoying disciples. Yet, Jesus chose to live a shared life, a life of relationships and all that comes with it.
I think the American idea of rugged individualism is overrated. We need more togetherness, more sharing of life, more admitting we need help, more community. On this 4th of July, think about how you can use your freedom to let go of the need to do everything alone. Gather some dear friends and family and connect, share, and do life together.
God of all, Thank you for life, opportunity, freedom, and the grace you give us each day. Remind us that we are fortunate to live in such abundance and show us how to use what has been given to us to serve others. Help us live in gratitude and humility as a witness to your grace and mercy. Help us recognize the dignity in every human and forgive us for the ways we have failed this in the past. I give this day, this life back to you. May you use me to bless others. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.