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First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:9-14

9The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, 10when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.   11Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. 12It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 14No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.

Happy 4th of July! We celebrate Independence Day. Independent – we don’t need no king on the other side of the ocean to tell us how to live, who to honor, who to bow in reverence to, whose ring to kiss, and to whom we pay our taxes and dues. We are independent.

Definitions of independent include these:

1. to be not controlled by another:

2. to be able to function by self

3. to be self-supporting - not forced to rely on another for money or support

4. to show confidence in self

5. to be able to provide the means on which to live without having to work (Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)

We are independent. We are encouraged to grow up to BE independent.

But in our lesson today, God calls for us to be DEPENDENT.

Eugene Peterson says “every generation wants God to dance its tune. And every generation complains that God doesn’t meet its expectations – like bored and whining children. But it is God who makes demands on us, not we on God. And it is God who includes us in HIS plans, not we who include him in ours.”

This illustration may be totally off base for you, but whenever I hear this Gospel lesson, I am reminded of the TV Christmas Program, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. In this drama of outcasts and societal standards, Rudolph leaves home because he has realized his red nose is causing more problems than he or his family can handle.

Rudolph meets up with Herby the Elf, who doesn’t want to make toys. He wants to be a dentist. He also leaves to find a place of welcome. When the two meet, Herby states that he is independent. Rudolph says, “Me Too.” So they decide to be independent together.

Look and see how God has blessed us today. Give thanks for God’s great love. Lean on God. Trust God. Depend on God. That is how God created us.

Let us pray: Almighty God, we pray for our nation. Bless the leaders and all who serve to protect us. May your will be done on earth and in our nation as well. May we trust and depend on YOU. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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