As we approach our celebration of the United States independence, we do so at a time of national tension. There are divisive visions of the future for our country from all over the political spectrum. July 4th is a reminder of the sacrifices people have made for our freedom, but also a reminder of the continual striving for that freedom, liberty and pursuit of happiness. As I think about our students and families in Mathare, I remember the story of the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. When we begin to think that our freedom and happiness will be found in man-made solutions to all of our problems and desires, we will come up empty and disappointed.
The Israelites were living under the oppressive hand of the Egyptians and cried out to the Lord. God sent Moses, who after many signs and wonders, led the people out of captivity and slavery on a journey to the promised land. Problems arose as the Israelites lost sight of who the giver of the Promised Land was. They began to want what the communities around them had. They began to grumble and take short cuts, and suffered because of it. The story of the Israelites journey reminds me of what we are doing in Mathare. God is leading us on a journey of transformation, one that takes time and patience. There is a better way that is not solely about social status, academic achievement and financial stability. While all of these are things that could be potential results of what we are pursuing, we are on a journey to the promised land that has everything to do with transformation that leads to service of the King of Kings.
As we celebrate this 4th of July, remember that our Promised Land is not found here on this earth. We are given the freedom, for which we can be grateful, to pursue a life that serves the King of Kings, and ultimately leads to the Promised Land. For that, we can celebrate the freedom that we have been given, and the sacrifices that have been made. As we celebrate our freedom, may we turn towards Jesus Christ, and unlike the Israelites not lose ourselves in the pursuits of men.
Happy 4th of July!