Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’
[16MAR2012] Lent 2012: Day 24—Reflection and Meditation
♦ Gospel - Mark 12:28-34
“By the cross of Christ, sustain us in the struggle of continual conversion. With contrite hearts, we pray You lead us in hope to the Easter day of resurrection.“
What is freedom? Freedom is as freedom does…
Reading through the song of the psalmist in Psalms 136:10-26 we hear of the mighty delivering Hand of God. This is the God who brings freedom to the oppressed and who sets the captive free, but what is freedom? What does it mean to be free? What is it that we are “freed” to do?
I think the answer to what our freedom is about can be found in the refrain of the psalm; “His faithful love endures forever.” I think the oppression we are freed from is more than the relief given to immediate felt needs and extends to the great losses experienced as a result of the Fall… our ability to truly be loved by God and to truly love Him in return. I think this is freedom.
In the midst of this great and “freeing” gift of God to us, most especially found in the work of Jesus Christ, is our struggle with actually receiving and realizing the gift of freedom and love. Recalling the gift of freedom to the Israelites in their release from Egypt, they were called the chosen people, God’s very own. Even in the throes of this great love, they had trouble with receiving God’s pure love…they also had trouble returning it as well.
We can fast forward through the centuries and the millennia until we arrive upon our present-day doorsteps. We have not changed much from the struggling and floundering Israelites of old. The problem of realizing freedom and acting upon it is still our plight even though we have experienced the reconciling gift of Christ’s resurrection and Holy Spirit power. We say that we have received love and we say that we give love in return, but so many of us proclaiming to be “redeemed” live in a state of oppression living love in a half-hearted fashion…receiving and giving love tenuously.
Humanity is in a state of servitude. We frequently do not notice that we are slaves, and sometimes we love it. But humanity also aspires to be set free. It would be a mistake to think that the average person loves freedom. A still greater mistake would be to suppose that freedom is an easy thing. Freedom is a difficult thing. -Nicolas Berdyaev; Russian Orthodox Theologian
I’m sure there are few that would find agreement with me, but look closely at the structure of how we live out the span of our lives. So many people live with worry and regret. So many people live out their lives fearful that they are not getting their fair share… Relationships are shallow because people are afraid to be open and honest with one another, fearful about how they might be perceived. We are born into bondage and it is bondage that feels normal to us. Even when we are freed, the majority of people return to what feels normal because the alternative that is freedom is so foreign and daunting. Many would argue this point, but millions of people are working jobs they hate, in relationships they dread, spend their money on things they don’t want, and try to change themselves into something they are not because others tell them what they are supposed to be. Freedom? I think not. The word of God tells us “Perfect love cast out all fear.” Why then do we continue to live oppressed and not free if we profess to have received the gift that promises freedom?
“The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. 30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)