The Gift of Freedom

The Gift of Freedom

However you define it, freedom is a truly precious thing.  For men and women who are literally enslaved, it means a new dignity.  For men and women bowed down by debt or pain or hopelessness, it means release from burdens and a new start.

There are many references to freedom in the books of the bible. One of the defining experiences for the Jewish people was their rescue from slavery in Egypt.  A leader known as Moses arose, who led the Jewish people through the Red Sea, across the Sinai Peninsula, to a land of their own.

The Jewish people were convinced that they had not achieved their political freedom by their own efforts alone. It was God who had led them to freedom.

The idea that God is at work to bring about freedom runs throughout the Bible. God is a God of love and justice, who hates to see oppression. He is therefore at work to bring freedom to all who are oppressed, and he calls men and women to join with him in this work. This thought has been a source of inspiration to men and women down the centuries, as they fight against all that imprisons and enslaves humanity.

The bible recognises that questions around slavery and freedom can be complex. Sometimes we are ourselves responsible for our own enslavement. Our own attitudes can enslave us, and what we need to do is to break free from these attitudes.

In our own culture, one of these enslaving attitudes is the feeling that we can have everything: we can have a successful family life, a successful career, have physically perfect bodies, and be completely happy and fulfilled all the time.  As a society, we assume that we can have unimpeded economic growth and consume more and more of everything.

But the reality is that we can’t have everything. We need to make choices.  If we try to fool ourselves into thinking that we can achieve the impossible, either as individuals or as a society, we will find that one day our world collapses around us.

I wonder how God might give us his gift of freedom, in the particular circumstances of our own lives? Might it be that we need to abandon the idea that somehow, we can have everything, and instead prioritise that which is most precious to us?              

Fr Jason