Free

Wrote and read this at a Jubilee celebration at my church this past weekend.  We celebrated our freedom in Christ, and reflected on what it means for the Church to BE the Body of Christ as a community.

 

We are free to sing with reckless abandon, songs of hope, joy, peace, love and thanksgiving.  For the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love…and that is something worth singing about

We are free to create, because the God in whose image we are made created all things, and invites us to join with him in creation, to take care of and tend gardens, scattering seed, bringing forth new life, and gathering our daily bread as he provides.

We are free to cast our cares upon Him, and take up the burdens of our brothers and sisters

We are free to give generously, as God gave, without expectation of reciprocity or return on investment, and we give because in giving, we get to share in the heart of God, who takes joy in pouring out blessing to others.  We are free to reject the lie of consumerism, that tells us more is always better.  We are free to rest in the identity God made us with, and not some lie cooked up by an ad agency.

We are free to forgive, because God forgave us, and in the light of His presence we see that our anger and hatred and bitterness towards one another are chains on our souls, and these chains are broken by his power, if we’ll only allow it.

We are free to wrestle with God, and we won’t let go until He blesses us and gives us a new name.  Like Jacob, we’ll walk away with a new identity, a new destiny, and a new purpose, but we’ll walk away limping.

We are free to grieve, crying out to our Father who hears the cry of His people, and joining the cry of His child who, from the cross asked, “Father, why have you forsaken me?”  Jesus wants to save us from having easy answers to our most difficult questions of life and loss.

We are free, like King David, and like the Apostle Peter, to fail, and to fail miserably.  When we fail, we are reminded that His love for us does not depend on our performance, and He restores us, and we go forward with a renewed humility.  We’re free to stop trying to impress God and others.  We’re free to be open and vulnerable with our brothers and sisters, and we’re free to graciously love and restore one other.

We are free to put down the sword and take up our cross – rejecting the myth of redemptive violence and instead, exposing and mocking the principalities and powers as Christ did, through sacrifice.  The prince of peace has come to free us from the violence in our hearts, and the violence of our arms

We are free to abandon the false distinction of ‘us’ and ‘them’ – and learn to see the face of Christ in the ‘other’.  We are free to actively love and serve our enemies.

We are free to join with God in the work He is doing in the world.  We are free to live lives that declare that hunger and misery and violence and death do not have the last word.  We are free to celebrate resurrection in the face of hopelessness.

Follow the Holy Spirit wherever it leads.

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~ by Joe Paparone on December 5, 2010.

One Response to “Free”

  1. Beautiful, Joe! Thanks, brother.

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