Living Free...in the Land of the Free
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." ~Declaration of Independence, July 4,1776
Throughout the last two hundred and forty-five years, ever since the Declaration of Independence, the United States of America has stood as a beacon for freedom around the world. Even prior to that declaration of freedom, many groups of sojourners had come to the New World, most notably the Pilgrims, who arrived in November of 1620, 401 years ago.
The Pilgrims were searching for the freedom to worship God, as they were being driven from their country for refusal to follow the state-mandated religion. Here in America, they found freedom to worship, but were overwhelmed by the challenges of living in a new, unfamiliar land. Alliances were established between the Pilgrim settlers and a tribe of Native Americans near them, and the peacemakers in the Native American tribe taught the settlers how to grow corn, and how to survive in the harsh wilderness.
This year's 2021 Thanksgiving marks the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, as the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for bringing them through the first winter, where half of their group of 102 settlers died from sickness and the harsh conditions, and for giving them peacemakers in this new land who guided them through the process of establishing their community this New World.
A Modern Sojourner
Over this past year, some refugee friends shared with us that their parents had always heard about Jesus the Messiah, but had never had the opportunity to learn who He is and what He said. When they were driven out of their country, being a minority group, they then lived in another country for years in a refugee camp until finally they were able to resettle in the United States.
The first thing that these friends' mother did upon arriving in the United States was to run down the street to the nearest church to find out more about this Jesus, and was baptized shortly afterwards as a follower of the Messiah.
In her words, it was like coming out of darkness and oppression, and into the light. She found the freedom to worship God as she had always longed for, and that freedom was found through Jesus the Messiah, the light of the world. She is grateful for the freedom to live in this new country, but even more, she is grateful for the freedom found in the worship of the one true God, the Creator of the world.
This woman, this modern sojourner, now understands that true freedom is not just political or religious freedom, even though those freedoms are both integral to who we are as the United States of America. True freedom is found in the truth, for as Jesus the Messiah says, "...the truth will set you free."
If we desire to live free in the Land of the Free, we must continue to stand up for political and religious freedom, but most of all, we need to know the Truth, for the Truth will set us free.
"...the truth will set you free." John 8:32