Happy Independence Day! This long four-day weekend, as we celebrate our independence, is a great opportunity to count our blessings as citizens of the United States. We often think of freedom as “freedom from…”, yet the blessings of freedom are perhaps most powerfully exercised in terms of “freedom to…”. In this country, we are free to practice our faith, we are free to actively engage in the political process, we are free to speak our conscience in the public square. In these, and so many other ways, we live out our unalienable rights to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
This past Tuesday, we honored an extraordinary woman in our community, April Hazamy. After serving more than 17 years as the program director at the Caring Kitchen here in Delray Beach, April is retiring. The Caring Kitchen is an interfaith ministry that serves the homeless, individuals and families with low-incomes, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. Volunteers (many of whom are members of St. Paul’s) and staff provide breakfast and hot lunches five days a week, evening hot meals four nights a week, meals to the home-bound three days a week, and bagged lunches on the weekend. The Caring Kitchen also provides clothing, eye glasses, toiletries, notary services, bus passes, and a host of other social services. Perhaps the greatest way we can honor the legacy of April, as she retires, is to recommit ourselves to serving others in the name of Christ. Blessed with freedom, we are free to serve!