When my grandfather was about 12 years old, he left his family in Italy and sailed around the world. I remember sitting on his knee and hearing stories, in very broken English, of his adventures aboard the ship. I guess it was on one of those trips that he heard of America, the Land of Opportunity. For him, the most important thing was giving his family the chance to have things and do things that he only dreamed. I guess Papa knew that the only place this dream could come true was in America.
I can only imagine the excitement as he sailed into New York Harbor and saw the Statue of Liberty, the grand Lady given to the U.S. as a gift. She had become the symbol of America. She had become the symbol of freedom and hope. And she had become the symbol of a chance to begin over again. In the late 1920’s, my Papa, Costatino Amatruda, found freedom, hope and newness of life.
I love this country so very much but Jesus makes it clear that a nation will never truly give us freedom. The Bible reminds me that America, as great as She is, will not offer me the freedom that Jesus does. Only Jesus can offer me a freedom that the world cannot take away. Only Jesus can offer me a freedom that is truly beyond my grandest notion and my wildest imagination. Only He can offer me this amazing and unbelievable grace that allows me to be truly free.
Some 90 years ago my grandfather stood at the base of the Statue of Liberty and read the words…
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free….
He stood at the feet of that grand Lady and experienced a chance for new life, hope and freedom. This Sunday, we stand at the base of the Cross and we can taste true freedom. This Sunday, we stand at the feet of our Master and we are given a chance at new life. This Sunday, we come to a Table and we can experience a hope that passes all understanding.
I hope you have a safe and incredibly thankful July 4th celebration! Take care and God bless.