Grateful dependence

Pastoral Messages | July 3, 2024

Last Saturday, we went to our local farmer’s markets. My son’s primary goal is to watch dogs. My daughter is always on the lookout for some unique thing to decorate her room. In addition to the veggies I knew I’d find this time of year – I hoped for perfect sweet corn to eat on the Fourth of July.  

Despite a re-route of our usual path because of road construction, we all were successful in our market morning. Dogs showed up in abundance. My daughter found the most delightfully crocheted plant hanger that looked like the legendary aliens from Sesame Street. And, even though it’s a little early still, we found some sweet corn. Plus, we talked with a fifth-generation farmer from Illinois who sold us some eggs and meat. We snacked on samosas, baked goods, and smoothies. Beets and lettuce grown by our refugee neighbors at Tapestry Farms filled our bags.  

As my kids ran to give some money to veterans raising money under a big red, white, and blue tent, I thought about the Fourth of July, Independence Day. The holiday celebrates independence from Britain so long ago and that declaration of self-evident truths, that all people are created equal, with unalienable rights. With my bags full of food grown by the hard work of so many, seeing the deep wrinkles at the corners of the eyes of veterans as they smiled at my kids, I thought about Independence Day with grateful dependence.  

We rely on so many others to make our lives happen, to sustain our democracy, to continue to make more perfect this remarkable, yet imperfect, union. Too often, we overlook and undervalue the many people who contribute to the functioning of our society. We isolate ourselves in our own independent, individual lives. But we’d be lost without each other, without the dedication and sacrifice of others. 

So perhaps this year, we can celebrate Independence Day by recognizing our dependence. As people of faith, we can spend time today not just eating sweet corn and watching fireworks – but with prayers of gratitude for all those people upon whose sacrifice and hard work we rely. And we can think about how our own days can be lived with a more generous service to the common good so that all people would experience more life, liberty, and happiness. 

-Sara Olson-Smith, associate pastor

8 Comments on “Grateful dependence”

  • Patty Courter

    July 6, 2024 at 9:15 am

    Beautifully written Pastor Sara.

  • Rich Bringewatt

    July 4, 2024 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks Sara. A much needed perspective.

  • Jeanne Olsen

    July 4, 2024 at 8:14 pm

    I love your new perspective!!!!! Thank you for that insight! I shall remember it!!

  • anke maass

    July 4, 2024 at 7:43 pm

    Such an awesome message

  • Stella Herzig

    July 4, 2024 at 6:17 pm

    A much needed reminder, dear Pastor Sara! I was feeling very discouraged this 4th holiday at the path of hate-filled partisanship today that many seem to be relishing. Sigh…. Thank you for a ray of goodness!

  • Roger Demarest

    July 4, 2024 at 4:48 pm

    Great message for all Americans especially in this time of hateful politics.

  • Deborah Lamp

    July 4, 2024 at 3:29 pm

    Oh such a good message and reminder of all we have to be thankful for. Thank you

  • Jerry Linn

    July 4, 2024 at 1:34 pm

    An excellent message, Sara.

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