Tomorrow is a day of celebration – of food and family, parades, bands and fireworks. Maybe some of you even had a “patriotic” themed church service on Sunday, with an American flag cake afterward.
I am an avid student of American history. It’s just unendingly fascinating, in all of its contradictions. Our society was founded by flawed heroes. And among the most flawed and the most heroic is the author of our national “scripture,” Thomas Jefferson. The man who helped give birth to our society with the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”
Self evident. These truths don’t need explaining or evidence. They are plainly obvious and indisputable.
The problem is that the man was writing ideals. And while the truth of the words may have been self-evident, they weren’t always evident in the life of Thomas Jefferson, or any other American since then.
Jesus spoke in truths, but for 2000 years, his followers have had mixed results with actually making the truth evident in their lives.
Maybe as we celebrate this Independence Day, we can resolve to make a few of these truths, which we hold to be self-evident, more evident in ourselves…
We hold these truths to be self-evident, and resolve to make them evident in ourselves…
That all people are created equal.
That every life has dignity, purpose, beauty and value.
That all of us have a right to be free in our choices, whatever the outcome.
That all of us have the right to pursue happiness.
That all people are made in the image of our Creator.
That God is love, not hate.
That our faith is not just a part of the American dream.
That a “Christian” nation is not a nation of people who are bent to the will of the Christians.
That food and money is not our god.
That we are not God’s chosen people because of our citizenship.
That we cannot scare people toward the truth.
That being “right” is not more important than being generous.
That God is more worthy of faith than government.
That we are all broken.
That we are all wrong.
That we are all too proud.
That we are all in the habit of justifying ourselves and condemning each other.
That we are all in the same boat.
That it is not our job to control or change one another.
That our lives often hide the truth that is meant to be self-evident.
That we will be known as Jesus’ followers by our love and our fruits, not our politics, not our t-shirts or flags, not our songs or bumper stickers or guns or picket signs or even the Bibles we carry around. Just our love.
What do you think? What self-evident truth do we need to make more evident in ourselves?