What is true freedom?
Several images come to mind;
When the Continental Congress declared the separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain 240 years ago, freedom along with liberty, was foremost in the minds of our nation’s founders. The idea did not originate with them, of course. In every age and across the earth, human beings have, as the inscription of the Statue of Liberty reads, yearned to “breathe free.”
Moses told Pharoh, “let my people go.”
Jesus, in his first public sermon, tells the gathered crowd what he has come to do, ““to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, to let the oppressed go free.”
Rabbi Harold Kushner was once asked, “What is the most dangerous idea in religion?” His response; “that my religion is right.”
There are more than 50 references in the New Testament to freedom. The church in Galatia once had a deep disagreement over whether or not faith was simply a matter of practicing certain “dos” and don’ts.” Paul responds that one is free in Christ. What does that mean exactly?
As we approach the 4th of July holiday, freedom is on our minds. Here are Paul’s words from his letter to the church at Galatia describing freedom.
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.
When we think of freedom, perhaps we are too quick to think of it in individualistic terms. In the kin-dom of God, freedom is communal. We are inclined to one another.
Our joy is another’s joy.
Another’s need is our need.
When we begin to see freedom as being free enough to be mutually bound to one another, that is freedom in Christ.
We don’t know what to do with true freedom. Our culture too often bends towards freedom being used as a mechanism of oppression
We would do well to remember that we cannot truly “breathe free” until all can “breathe free”
To God, we are not truly free until all of our brothers and sisters are free.
Only then will we know true freedom.