We lingered for a long time in the warm breeze, and had a festive dessert. And seeing that we were celebrating a holiday, after all, I asked our kids, "Which of our freedoms are you most thankful for?"
Ben replied, "That's easy!"
I was waiting for the freedom to play baseball.
He went on. "The freedom to follow whatever religion I want!" I asked him to tell us more. "I know lots of people are persecuted for their faith. I would do that, but it sure is nice not to have to."
I took a chance. "Would it be OK to have to all follow one religion if the religion were Christianity?"
"No! Then people wouldn't know whether they wanted to be a Christian or not, because they wouldn't have a choice."
Bethany piped in just then. "When you HAVE to do something, it makes you really not WANT to."
Amen, Ben. Amen, Bethany. Thank you, God, that my children understand. We love you because you loved us first. We follow you freely, willingly, joyfully.
We do not confuse our identity as citizens of the United States with our identity as children of God. They are completely different, and separate. But we thank God for a country where we are free to choose, and for brave men and women in our past, present and future who have paid and will pay the ultimate price for that freedom.
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." Galatians 5:13