Been thinking a lot about freedom, and only partially because of Memorial Day in the United States of America--a day set aside to honor those who died while serving in our military. Years ago, this day of remembering was called Decoration Day, when the graves of veterans were marked with flowers to honor their service. You see, freedom is never really free. Much blood was shed. [Boston Common Memorial Day]-->
Many Americans link the notion of freedom with the American Revolution, a valiant struggle of seven-plus years when we fought the Redcoats for independence from Great Britain. With Danny, (my youngest son), going to school in Boston, I have had even more opportunity to visit specific sites that mark that fight for freedom. The Old North Church where Paul Revere hung the torches to signal that the British were on the move is Boston's oldest church, and when I am in town, it is where I worship. There's the harbor where the Tea Party revolt took place, Bunker Hill and the graves of numerous patriots--all tied to the hard-won freedom our forebears courageously guaranteed. I love studying all about it.
Having been raised with love of country and the utmost respect for our flag, I have always thanked God for the freedom in America ... until about eight weeks ago. And now, I am greatly concerned about the ease with which our freedom has been shredded, due to a virus. Wasn't it unconstitutional for our places of worship to be shuttered, (not to mention our businesses closed, forcing tens of thousands out of work)? Freedom . . . really?
Freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak or think
as one wants without hindrance or restraint . . . hmmm.
Today, I wish to honor those who have served to make and keep American free.
ALL gave some, but SOME gave ALL ~ their very lives.
In the 20th century alone, more than 116,000 American soldiers died in WW1;
more than 400,000 in WW2! Then, there was the Korean and Viet Nam Wars, not to mention, Desert Storm, and the continuing war in the Middle East. Really, the numbers are staggering.
I am beyond grateful for their sacrifices, and I am thankful to be an American.
However, since I am not a historian, military buff, epidemiologist or politician, I will continue with what I do really know. When God created mankind, he created us in his image, which meant we were free! I mean, so free that clothes were irrelevant, and God walked and talked with them face-to-face; the first couple could do anything they wanted except for eating of one tree. Since that proved too difficult, perfect freedom was lost.
But, God . . . God, who longed for intimate relationship with his creation once again, made a way for us to know true freedom through his Son; Isaiah even spoke about it some 700 years before Jesus was born. "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."1
At the start of his earthly ministry, Jesus stood up and read this passage from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, and emphatically stated, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”2
There it is: Jesus came for our freedom . . . so that we could walk in liberty because of him.
But again, freedom is not free.
For us to realize intimate relationship with God,
for us to be forgiven from sin - set free!
for us to know true freedom~
for us to be free forever . . . blood had to be shed, Jesus' precious blood.
That is why Jesus came, the reason he said 'if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'3
Ah, Freedom . . . freedom from guilt, freedom from fear of the future, freedom from that which would bind us ~ all because of Jesus. Paul said it so succinctly, 'It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.'4
After all, we are just passing through on this journey called earth, because Friends, 'we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.'5. In Heaven, we will know freedom and liberty forever . . . really!
We'll never look back,
1 - Isaiah 61.1
2 - Luke 4.21
3 - John 8.36
4 - Galatians 5.1
5 - Philippians 3.20