Monday, May 30, 2016

this land is your land (but not yours alone)


happy memorial day, a day we set apart to remember specifically that the freedoms and liberties we enjoy were bought at a price, and that price was paid in the currency of human lives.  even today, as we think about our way of life, we should recognize that when we abuse our freedoms, or take them for granted, we are devaluing that price and dishonoring that memory.  when we choose greed over commonwealth; when we choose comfort over justice for all; when we choose personal gain over public health; when we choose self over community and country; we forget the great gift we've been given and we shame ourselves.

this land was never just for me.  it was always for us.  it was always about freedom from monarchy, freedom from legislated religion.  it left room for differences.  we seem to have forgotten that in our country today, when instead of welcoming the tired, the poor, and the hungry, we want to build walls and deport those who are different.  we want this to be our land, and our land alone (conveniently forgetting that this was never our land to begin with).

so on this memorial day, i'm not only remembering the incredible sacrifice made by so many to establish and protect this country, as well as those who still grieve their loss, but i'm also remembering my own responsibility to welcome the "other," to sacrifice my time and energy and money, and to love and serve and my neighbor, my community, and my country.

so here's a video of the special music i sang in church yesterday. i didn't do real well (missed notes on the guitar, really flat in some places, screwed up the words at least once....just a hot mess, really), and the video is super shaky, as Caedmon took it on his little digital camera, but i hope it at least conveys my passion and hope for us as a nation.  that we would recognize this isn't just my land, but your land, too.  thank you, Woody Guthrie, for writing this great song; sorry for destroying it.


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