Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!
-Isaiah 55:1, NIV
Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. We will see many symbols that remind us to give thanks for our nation and all that is good about it. One of the symbols we often see this time of year is the Statue of Liberty. It stands there in New York City and for years it has welcomed those seeking a new country. It has welcomed those who were looking for a new start, or for those who valued the principles on which this country was built.
In 1883 Emma Lazarus wrote a poem that was largely ignored for many years. It was a sonnet to the Statue of Liberty that was discovered after her death. A patron arranged to have the last five lines become a permanent part of the statue itself. By 1945, all fourteen lines of the poem were placed over the Statue of Liberty's main entrance. The last five lines go this way:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
I think about how those words sound similar to the words of Isaiah: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!" (Is. 55:1, NIV) What would it be like for us to become a nation that focused on what really mattered? What would it be like to open our arms to those in need, in the same way the words of that poem inspire us to think about? Maybe in response to God's amazing grace, we need to refocus our lives on those things that really matter - the things that show God's love and grace to all who thirst. Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." (Matthew 25:35, NIV)