Patriotism

Freedom and Faith… Funny Things

We live in funny times. Freedom is a word at the core of our American credo. But we may disagree more than ever on what it means. Freedom for one person sounds like something entirely different to another. We will hear it used a great deal the next few days as Independence Day comes around once more.

What does freedom mean for the Christian? What does freedom have to do with our faith?

On Monday of this week, Donald Miller posted the following on Facebook —

“God doesn’t try to control people. And He’s the only one who actually can. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there for us.”

We muse about freedom from the power of sin and death, freedomĀ from anxiety and fear, freedom to live abundantly in a world of scarcity. All true. But at the core of our faith, in some sense, is human freedom. And the fact that God apparently submits to that freedom in not controlling us divine power might allow.

Donald Miller’s point is about our inability – and what should be our unwillingness to try – to control others. But it begins with the observation that God leaves us absolutely free. Free to say “no” to God’s gracious invitation. Free to reject what Christ offers just as freely. Free to take the other road, the road much traveled, the road that leads to suffering and death.

Human freedom may be the greatest power in the universe as it turns out to be the only thing greater than the power of God (at least in the realm of individual and corporate decision-making).

Freedom’s greater power comes when it is surrendered in love, gratitude, and wonder to the only One to whom we should submit our freedom. Something to consider as we celebrate another year of freedom in our land. And to think about what it says about our earthly ideas of freedom perhaps.

Categories: Holiday, Patriotism | Leave a comment

Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day is not a Christian or spiritual holiday but rather a civil one. It does not mean, however, that is has no spiritual significance.

I don’t usually post other people’s stuff but today I post something from someone whose work and writing I admire, Ed Stetzer. Last Memorial Day he posted the following —

 

“At times like this, I’m always struck by the teaching of Jesus where he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). And, yes, I immediately connect that to Christ. In other words, on a day when we remember those who gave their lives I’m drawn to dwell on the fact that Christ laid down his life.

So, thank you soldiers– past and present– for the freedoms you protect. And, thank you that because of those freedoms, we can tell the good news of the gospel of the perfect one who laid down His life.”

(It comes from this blog post — Memorial Day:Bought with a Price, May 27, 2013. It is worth reading the entire post!)

At our best, we as human beings reflect in our character the image of God in which we are made (Genesis 1:27). The sacrifice of human beings for the good of others, as Ed Stetzer so well articulates, reminds me of the sacrifice of Christ. In our fallen, broken world the lives of some are often lost that others may live and thrive. Our Christian faith tells of One who gave his life for all and not for any one nation or cause.

I thank God for those whose sacrifices allow me to live, worship, preach, and pastor in freedom.

Categories: Faith Journey, Holiday, Patriotism | Leave a comment

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