Freedom is…

I’m heartbroken that we can’t talk to each other in ways that lead us to understanding and necessary change.  As an American who loves her country, and knows  the privilege of being born in such a place,  I’m frustrated that we can’t seem to see that our history as a country, with all its imperfections and very real injustices, have brought us to a place where it’s still a good place to live.  There’s a long way to go but we’ve also come a long way.  My heartbreak and frustration is nothing compared to those who feel the injustice impact their daily lives, something I really have never known on that same scale.  My freedom as a person living in the world has come at a high cost to many ~ those who lost their lives fighting to keep wars away from us, those who packed up what they owned, loaded their jars of hard red winter wheat into crates to travel to a place they could call home, where they were free, and those who lived on this land before me, for whom the injustice felt I ask forgiveness.

“It was for freedom Christ, in His death that forgave our wrongs, has liberated us. Persevere then, and don’t hold onto stuff that enslaved you in the first place.

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my fellow Christ followers. Don’t use your freedom as an opportunity to satisfy what you were before you were forgiven, made new.

Instead of things that harm ~ hostility, quarrelling, division, envy ~ use your freedom from all that to #SERVEONEANOTHER IN #love. It’s the same love that binds us to Christ, the same love that is the center of #holiness, the #agape ~ unconditional, impartial, never ending, wide, deep, high, foot-washing, cross-carrying, death-defying, life-giving, hell-overcoming LOVE ~ THAT’s the love we serve each other with.

TO serve each other, that is why we are made free. #Freedomis… ultimately responsibility, to love others with all the love God has lavished on us. Freedom from what held us captive gives #liberty to love those with whom we live life, yes, every other human on this small globe… they’re all our neighbors.

But hear this…

“if you’re always trying to wound each other’s soul by your words, to cut deep with disapproval, shame and criticism, if all you really want is to finish each other off well … watch out! In the end, you will ultimately destroy one another.

Instead…

“Let the Spirit who lives in you guide you… away from who you were and what you craved before you knew the saving grace of Jesus. When you LOVE… you have more of a chance of being who you were created to be.

As we celebrate today, we seem far from free. This freedom we like to proclaim has gotten away from us, become a burden, a source of destruction of our souls, and the neighbors we are called to love. When our pride desires the last word, when we hate for the sake of hating, when we don’t stop to see, listen, get to know… we forget that love means we look out for our neighbor at all costs. That responsibility comes with freedom.

We are free when we can say like Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this… to lay down their lives for their friends”.

We are free if we have “nailed the passions and desires of our sinful pre-grace selves to HIS Cross”

We are free when we have “crucified” our own wants and aspirations and RIGHTS at the cross.

I celebrate my home country today for all that it has given me. And with the knowledge of those gifts, I humbly seek all the ways I might work toward fully loving my neighbor until they are truly free as well.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Credit: Paul the Apostle for his words to the Church in Galatia, seen in chapter 5.  Translation and commentary mine.
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