Yesterday the United States celebrated the anniversary of its independence with revelry and a sense of triumph. However, the cruel oppression we feel liberated from in the form of a foreign government has been replaced with a tyranny of another kind. For some it is poverty born of Capitalism without conscience. For others it is radial individualism that is fueled by a secular culture of pride and vanity which forsakes others. I fear there are Christians, especially in the United States, who believe that the greatest triumph over tyranny occurred over two hundred years ago, so they have stopped fighting against it. It is not solely a political term, nor a phenomenon that happens on a national level. Tyranny is the abuse of power and authority. It is to take something that could uplift and uphold another, and pervert it through sin to oppress and demean. Unfortunately, this happens all the time, and it is openly recorded via social media.
I wonder what God must think when we relish the cutting words and proclaim the biting actions we have taken against another often for no other reason than we felt justified in our own eyes. We can do great harm, but we are called to magnify the good of God. We are capable of producing evil like no other creature, yet we are those who have been granted grace so that we can exist another way. As the festivities of Independence Day continue throughout the weekend, I feel the Holy Spirit calling us into account. The fight is not finished against tyranny. Christ dealt the death-blow to sin and death, but in that freedom and the power of free will we have allowed ourselves to become blind to the continued struggle for so many, even us. Refuse to submit to institutional sin that is tyranny without the monarch. Reject the ill-conceived notion by some individuals that they can do whatever they want, even if it hurts another, because this is a free country. I doubt very much that Christ will care if our sins were legal when they are immoral. Just as good people fought and gave of their very lives that myself and my fellow citizens might know freedom, Christ died that all of every nation may know liberation, and live in grace, truth, and love. Do we still carry on that fight? Have we relegated that to pontifications, rather than actual actions and deeds?
Today we can do more that utter rhetoric. This day is a day that the Lord has made for newness and renewal, and we have been made that way, too. We are vessels of Christ, and, therefore, fundamentally vessels of change. We can do nothing on our own, but we are not alone. God has come to us in the three persons of the Trinity, and God remains with God’s people. It is time for God’s people to go out and demand that the power and oppression of tyranny end. That we may treat one another with the preservation of dignity and the acknowledgement that all are beloved in God’s eyes. May we live out this divine truth, and, in doing so, break the power of tyranny in us and over others more and more each day.