Monday, March 21 Read John 8:31-38
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
Free To Be
I am not perfect, but I am not alone, and I am not alone, because I am not perfect. If I typed a similar equation into an Excel spreadsheet, I would get an error message: circular reference! Like shining a mirror back at a mirror, the reflection goes on for infinity. There is no end.
What hope that gives! This circle, this continuum, is the promise of Christ – who knows all of us, the good, the bad, the sinner and the saint – and his mercy. In hope we do not journey alone, and freedom is found when we accept the invitation to follow.
What is freedom? For some, it may mean the ability to do whatever one feels like doing. Said another way: where choices have no consequences and instant gratification abounds. Can voracity be truly gratifying? I don’t think it can. I googled the origins of the word, and one of the definitions referenced a relation to the German “frei,” which means “to love.”
“…And the truth will make you free” to give love and to receive love. What a message of hope! What if freedom is found in becoming all we were created by God to be? Freedom to fulfill the potential that God designed us to reach? Freedom to both receive the love of God and to share his love with others? Jesus tells his followers not just to believe, but to abide in his teachings, and they will both be his disciples and know the truth. In knowing that truth, they will be free. Jesus says it is not sufficient to merely have the belief, it’s critical that the belief continue.
To flourish in freedom and love, we must live the life that God has called us to live. Not just today, in this moment, but tomorrow and next week and 10 years from now, and in the hours of our deaths. We are called to continue believing in God’s love and essential grace not just in the good times, but in the hard times, the lean times, the times we are scared, the times that we doubt and the times that we are angry. For to love is to serve, and when we allow God’s love to buoy us through desperate times, and when we reflect God’s love to others in our times of bounty, we continue the belief in his word.
In the way that a fish could not be set free to live on a forest floor, nor an unwanted dog turned free on a country road, human freedom – human thriving – does not exist where people live tumultuously and interact with each other unmindfully. Christians are called to establish a sustained conviction that we are sinners saved only by the grace of Christ. We are not perfect, but we are not alone, and we are not alone, because we are not perfect. In our imperfections, Christ calls us to follow; when we do, hope is found, and freedom and love will follow.
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