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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Celebrating freedom this Fourth

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Mark Boorsma


Independence Day will be different this year, with freedoms of assembly curtailed and social distancing greatly limiting the partying and celebration we love about this day.

On the other hand, maybe this is our chance to reflect on the essence, accountability and responsibility of freedom. While we might like to imagine freedom as a vehicle for joyful recreation free from any restraints, what if the vehicle called freedom were better imagined as an ambulance designed for the benefit of health and well-being for all?

An ambulance speeding through town, lights and sirens on, announces its presence unmistakably and commands attention. We pull over, get out of its way, and understand the social contract that everybody — the whole community — cooperates in the lifesaving work it embodies. EMTs are tasked with saving and sustaining the lives and health of all those they serve.

Imagine our shock and disgust if somebody were to commandeer an ambulance only for the personal thrill of joyriding around town with lights flashing and siren blaring.

“I’m free,” gloats this driver, speeding and careening around with a mischievous grin and little or no care for others. Is this the kind of freedom we would celebrate? Certainly not!

Like a responsible and accountable EMT, I pray that I might drive this ambulance called freedom, not for me, but for you.

As the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

May Independence Day be seasoned with deep appreciation for the actual interdependence upon which people of good will must rely.  Happy Fourth!

Mark Boorsma is a pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.