What do you think of when you think about freedom?
It’s the 4th of July and fireworks have been (illegally) popping in our neighborhood for days. Block parties abound. There’s a 5k race that a friend of mine are skipping in favor of using the $30 entry fee for pedicures. (We’ll run on our own, natch.)
Around this time of year, the word freedom can conjure images of battle, of flags, of sparklers and streamers and picnics and cookouts.
We talk a lot about what we have been freed from. And so we should. As Americans we celebrate a unique history. We dumped the tea into the harbor, after all. John Hancock and fifty-five others signed the Declaration of Independence.
But beyond its 4th of July meanings, the idea of freedom goes deeper still.
For instance, our worship leader said something a few weeks ago that’s been stuck in my head ever since.
“It isn’t just that Christ has set us free from things,” he said. “Things like fear and death and sin. It’s that Christ has set us free for things. In Christ we are free to love, to serve, to bless, to hope, to grow.”
[Our worship leader freaking rocks, y’all.]
Paul put it this way in Galatians 5:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
God longs to set us free, and once we are free, to help us live into the fullness of that freedom.
Freedom in Christ is freedom from what others think. Freedom to love our neighbor as ourselves. Freedom to work for reconciliation, to serve the poor, to extend a hand of fellowship across the deep divides of our culture. Freedom to worship.
What are you free to do, because of what Jesus has done for you? What does freedom mean to you today?