“…yearning to breathe free..” These words of Emma Lazarus, contained within her poem “The New Colossus,” engraved on the pedestal on which stands the Statue of Liberty, I’m thinking, are worth considering this Independence Day weekend.

“…yearning to breathe free…” Freedom.

And I’m wondering what is the best kind of freedom—the most fundamental freedom that is contained in our God-given inalienable rights. And I’m noticing that the Bill of Rights names freedom of religion first.

And I’m wondering what God would say is our greatest freedom.

And I’m remembering that God gives human beings free will as His special gift, so that we freely can choose to accept and extend His love–even if the exercising of this ultimate freedom gift can lead to choosing evil, not good.

And I’m noticing that Sacred Scripture in the words of Zechariah, spoken in the prayer known as the “Benedictus,” proclaims that God gives us freedom from the hold of our enemies so that we can be “free to worship Him without fear.”

And I’m yearning to try to better understand and appreciate true “freedom” this Independence Day weekend, considering the words of Ms. Lazarus and Zechariah: “…yearning to breathe free.“ “…free to worship Him without fear.”

And I’m thinking that If we are not free to be fully human—to exercise our free will to choose good—to choose God, the Ultimate God, what will become of us?

…And by the way, I love that Emma Lazarus’ last name reminds me of the man raised from the dead by Jesus; every time we breathe free, free to be fully human, we are reborn in the Spirit Who sets us free, as only God Himself can.

God bless America. God keep safe those who protect our freedom to be fully human, fully His–fully free!

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