This is my 'thought for the day' for Radio Bristol tomorrow morning:
Yesterday the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public for the first time since the 9/11 attacks nearly three years ago. In a moving ceremony, the Mayor of New York said he hopes that ‘every child in America and … around the world gets to see this statue.’
When freedom is under threat, it is important to have symbols that remind us about the nature of freedom. At over three hundred feet tall, the Statue of Liberty may be the largest such symbol in the world. The re-opening of the Statue reminds us that freedom requires us to look outwards. The seven spikes in the crown of Lady Liberty stand for the seven seas and continents of the world. But most importantly, she stands facing outwards – away from the American mainland, out towards the sea and the rest of the world.
This reminds us that freedom means being open to others, taking the risk of encountering and welcoming people we don’t know. Protection our freedom by keeping everyone else away from us only places us in a prison of our own making. It robs us of our freedom in the name of defending it. Freedom is a precious gift, and a gift given to us to share. We discover our freedom and learn to live as free people as we share that freedom with others.
The Apostle Peter urged his readers to ‘live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honour everyone’ (1 Peter 2.16-17).
In difficult times, when freedom is under threat, symbols like the Statue of Liberty are important. They remind us to ‘live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honour everyone’.