Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Today is a day to pause and reflect on what it means to live, move and have our being in the United States. Both nationally and internationally, we are confronted with countless challenges that test our hope and faith. I celebrate this day in a spirit of optimism for the path of nuance, diplomacy and equity on which our President appears to be leading us. After all, as Mark Twain notes in his 1904 Notebook, "in the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man [sic!], and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."

Let us lead with compassion and follow with grace. I am reminded of the warning that Martin Buber once offered: political change is "futile and bound to be self-destructive so long as a new structure of genuinely communal human life is not born out of the soul’s renewal." Let us remember that with independence and freedom come the responsibilities of stewardship and justice, as grounded in a profound place of reverence for that which lies within each and beyond all.

Happy Fourth!

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