7-4-17 - Land of the Free

Today is America’s Independence Day, which many will celebrate by being freed from a day at work.

Independence means something different in the Christian life than it might politically. The kind of liberty Jesus invites us into is strongly inter-dependent. He invites us to be tethered to God, to one another and to serving the world, not because we are being forced, but by our free choice.

Paul writes in Romans that we have been set free from sin so as to be enslaved to God, the reward for which is being made holy, or sanctification. Would we voluntary enslave ourselves to anything? Well, yes… Our lives are full of ways in which we yield our freedom – on a limited basis – to achieve a goal. We become employees working under the policies and procedures of our employers; we pay personal trainers large sums to make us perform painful and arduous exercises; we follow certain diets.

And we voluntarily take on the yoke Jesus offers, which he says is easy. And when we truly trust him, it is. It is only when we pull away that we find it chafes.

I believe that God’s greatest desire for us is freedom, to be free from all that holds us back and makes us less than who we were intended to be, less than who God already knows us to be. That freedom does not make us independent, however – it makes us interdependent.

We are asked to become more dependent on God, to throw all our weight and trust on this One we cannot see but discern in our lives and around us. As we grow in that relationship, we learn the ways that God is depending upon us to be the vessels by which God’s transforming love and healing power are enacted in the world. We cannot do it without God; God will not do it without us.

We are also invited to become interdependent with others in our communities of faith, and with those whom we would serve. We will see peace and justice reign when we truly understand that to seek the good for our neighbor will create good and security and plenty for us. Even better will be the day when we don’t think in “us” and “them” terms at all – as U2 sings in Invisible, “There is no them; there’s only you, there’s only me.

And we are interdependent in service to the world, willing to be served as well as to serve.

Today I wish you a day of perfect freedom and fun – with the prayer that, as we celebrate our unfathomable liberties as a nation, we find a pattern of “tethered freedom” in Christ that allows us to be truly free.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Kate.

    ... to be tethered to God, to one another and to serving the world, not because we are being forced, but by our free choice.

    The choice you call "free" is momentous:

    By our free choice,

    * we are invited to be as honest about our flaws is if they were shouted from the housetops;

    * we are asked to share our belongings gladly, with trust that our own needs will be provided by our loving community; and

    * we are called to seek out and serve needs of the most vulnerable first, without considering cause or merit.

    Such a tall order when seen through a worldly glass! Such a joyful vision when seen through the light of Christ.

    God bless your celebration of service that is perfect freedom!