Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1
Independence and liberty are words which make us stand a little taller. The gem-toned paintings of our founding fathers, images of spacious skies, amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties cause our hearts to beat a little faster and ignite our national pride. Some boast we are a “Christian nation” and blessed by God because of our good deeds. Jesus said “no one is good, no not one.” He whom the Lord has set free shall be free indeed.
History is filled with the perpetual cycle of freedom and bondage and of powerful oppressive leaders alternating with more permissive egalitarian rule. The psychologist Erich Fromm in his book Escape from Freedom explains that it is human nature to flee the individual and national responsibilities of freedom. He came of age in Germany during WWI and was influenced by the war hysteria and the claims of the greatness of “German Christians.” at war with England. This lead him to explore the nature of freedom and oppression.
He says individuals escape freedom in three ways. Many seek a strong authoritarian leader or a king to assume responsibly for their welfare. Some, he explains, lash out with destructive acts and seek to destroy themselves or others rather than be free. Most people seek to escape freedom by going along with the crowd and disappearing into the masses.
Citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven requires courage. Modern day Christians like many early Christians, referred to in Galatians, seek to return to religious laws rather than accept grace and freedom. King Jesus rules with love and compassion. We do not need an earthly savior to rescue us from enemies, we do not need to kill those whom we fear. We do not need to hide in the crowd.
“Proud to be an American” is the refrain we will hear this week. Followers of Jesus will remember with awe the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, and the discovery that the flag is still there. Many hearts will swell with pride. It’s unpopular to remind the followers of Jesus that humility is a better indicator of our true allegiance. Rulers and Governments will come and go and citizens of earthly kingdoms will experience cycles of freedom and tyranny but citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven will remain free. Those who the Lord has set free shall be free indeed.
Prayer: Prince of peace ruler of my heart, may I remain free in my spirit and never seek salvation in earthy institutions. Help me to not give way to human fears and join with others who seek authoritarian rule. Help me not to escape freedom with acts of violence against myself or others and help me never to allow your identity on earth to be swallowed up by the crowd. Thank you for liberty and the opportunity to bear the burdens of those who are oppressed. May I remain faithful in love. All Hail King Jesus! Amen
Action: Read the first six chapters of Galatians