Today’s Bible readings can be found at this combined link: Zechariah 14:1-11 and 2 Corinthians 3:1-18.

2 Corinthians 3:17  “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  (NRSV)

            Freedom is something that every American I know of, cherishes deeply. Ever since this beautiful nation began, the fight for Liberty and our individual rights has been maintained and strongly defended. For almost 250 years, the citizens of this vast land have fought against foreign nations and internal foes to sustain what George Washington once described as this great experiment in Liberty.

This freedom, however, was not given to everyone when the United States was established, so both a Civil War and a Civil Rights Movement had to take place in order to expand this right of Liberty to more people. As each generation comes and goes, the struggle to maintain unalienable rights and broaden our freedoms continues. It is a work in progress and is being advanced all of the time. What one age group believes is freedom may be contested by a younger generation. What once was hallowed as a precious right may be changed by a better-informed and enlightened people. The idols of the past conflict with the ideals in the present; the outcome of such a struggle will determine who we are as a people and shape who we want to become.

As a Christian, freedom is very dear to my heart, especially the freedom from fear and anxiety which can liberate people from the tyrannies of terror, oppression, and self-preservation.  Upholding traditional rights can actually smother the faith of a future generation. When Christ brought the message of the Gospel to His people, it was radical and appeared irrational at times – after all, what right-minded, fiercely individual, and religiously zealous Judean would succumb to a coarse Galilean’s teaching about loving their enemies? Why would they give up protecting themselves by embracing their foes?

Why? Because Jesus knew that in order to be truly free they had to give up past idols and sacred cows in order to enjoy the liberating presence of God’s Kingdom among them. Fear had no place in a community of faith. Self-preservation and indignation had no claim with a Teacher who constantly proclaimed self-sacrifice and love. In other words, if we truly seek to be free, then we need to understand that true liberty can only be found where the Spirit of Christ abides.

Point to ponder:  How much do I cherish my freedom? How does it conflict with or augment my faith?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the Lord of Liberty and the Founder of Freedom. You have liberated us from the shackles of sin; You can set us free from our fears and self-righteous ways. Grant us the courage to embrace what is truly right in Your eyes, even if it means letting go of some personal rights in our lives. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.

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