We decided to take some random pics today.....the neighbors aren't so sure about us.....but a fun day was had by all, so it's all good!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I've been thinking a lot lately about freedom---what it really looks like, how to walk in it, how
much it costs. Freedom is really foreign to me, even though I am blessed to live in the land of the free. I recognize fully the bill of rights, freedom of speech, free enterprise--those concepts and ideas allow me to have a standard of life that most people the world over only dream of. I understand freedom in that sense.
Living in freedom, embracing it, walking in it day in and day out, that's another story. I happen to live in a house that was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.( Well, the house itself burned down twice, so the house I live in looks just like the one that was on the Underground Railroad....but the foundation is the original. ) It's a massive old stone basement made of hand-hewn rock that connects to an equally massive wine cellar by some tunnels that were sealed off sometime in the 70's. We live on the "slave side" of the Ohio river, and back in the day, people who risked their lives to experience a taste of freedom would pass through my basement, slip down the tunnels into the wine cellar and make their way through the river bottom and ferry across to the free side.
It was risky to make the journey. It was brave and dangerous to defy the system of the day and help those who were seeking freedom to find their way out of bondage. The family who owned my house had to really own their beliefs--that freedom was for everyone, and they would risk their own comfort (and safety) in order to help other people find their way. They embodied faith , because they walked it out and in doing so, lives were saved, hope was offered, captives were set free.
I want to live my life like that. I want to own my freedom. When I think about my children--their silliness, their passion, their honesty and frankness--I get a glimpse of what I think freedom must feel like. Thankfully, they're pretty secure in our love for them, so they operate with confidence inside the safe boundaries of their world. They are free to be themselves, free to ask questions, free to learn and experience and make mistakes, and free to push the boundaries and question them if the boundaries seem wrong. They know they are loved innately by their parents and they operate freely in that love. When they're under the care of someone else, they are more reticent....more reserved.....more careful. They're less likely to be open and silly and who they really are.
I'm realizing that, unfortunately, I've been operating like I'm at the cosmic babysitter's house instead of living in the love of my Daddy. I've been cautious, and timid and hesitant to be real, rather than spinning and dancing and experiencing the freedom of being the much loved child of God, himself. It's as if I'm standing on the slave side of the river, looking longingly across the water at the free land but the tunnel has been blocked off. The crazy thing is, there is no cost to me--it's already been paid by Jesus. The tunnel isn't sealed, it's blocked off by my own junk that I just pile in the way---past hurts, church junk, religious checklists, legalism, fear of others---all that stuff has blocked the pathway to freedom that is already at my foundation.....I just have to be willing to let go of it.
I'm ready now, I think, to slip through the tunnel and out through the wine cellar and across the field to the place where freedom waits. I understand that finding freedom will cause me to want to show others the way and that I'll have to be patient with their bondage and their baggage. I'm learning that the paradox of Jesus calls me to have compassion for the captors and the systems that keep people from being free....but for the first time I'm understanding that it isn't my job to try the captors. I'm not called to tear down the systems and adjust the mindsets. That in itself is a massive step toward freedom! Instead of fixing the whole mess, I'm just called to be free, and to lovingly share that freedom with others as best I can. Then there will be a whole chorus of people singing freedom songs from the other side of the river....
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at the same moment Christ's hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law.
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile, we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. Galatians 5:1-6 MSG