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Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

FREEDOM ISN’T FREE

This slogan is well known to us in national life. We all know that the
cost of our freedom is paid by those who willingly sacrifice their
blood and treasure to serve in our military. So we must honor
especially those families who have given the most.

We are also aware of how vigilant we should be as citizens of this
democracy in making progress towards true equality and justice for
all. This too requires sacrifice. Some in the service of this struggle
have also paid the ultimate price of blood and treasure.

Freedom in a strong democracy demands participation even debate and
defense of differing positions.

As Christians we claim a new freedom. St. Paul lays it out in his
letter to the Galatians. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us
free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by
a yoke of slavery." Gal.5:1 Slavery here is in reference to religious
restrictions or demands that have nothing to do with conduct.

Making it clear in 5:13-15 "You, my brothers and sisters, were called
to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather,
serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in
keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. '" If there
is any question about what he means by the "flesh" Paul spells it out:
"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and
debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits
of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy;
drunkenness, orgies, and the like." Gal.5:19-21

What then is a free person in Christ to be like? Well, Paul lays that
out as well: vs. 22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control."

We are set free, we believe as Christians, from sin by the blood of
Christ on the cross. This freedom demands our attention to own
behavior but to our neighbor as well. Funny how that works. Whenever
the bible calls attention to our relationship with God, it always
comes back to how we treat our neighbors as proof of our relationship
with God.

We should never limit our faith to only feeling good about God or
thinking that if I can just meditate, or if I can shout praises and
sing of the glory of God,. I still have to look at the people around
me and be judged by how I think and treat them. In particular how I am
with the poor and needy. There is a price. Christ paid the ultimate
price but I have to pay a price too by my comportment, my love of
neighbor, not just my friends and family. Ouch.

When Jesus began his public ministry St. Luke has him echoing the
words of Is. 61:1 when he says "The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has
sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight
for the blind, to set the oppressed free."

We are to share in that mission. For this is the price of our own
freedom. Our participation in the mission to be good news to the poor,
concern for prisoners, giving sight to the blind, and working to free
those under oppression.

Praise and worship, nor testimony is enough. We must be doers of Gods
words, slaves for Christ.

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