Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nothing Quite so Frightening as Freedom

For FREEDOm CHrisT has set us FRee; stand firm thereFore, and DO NOT suBmiT again to a yoke of SLAVeRY. For you were caLLeD to freedom, brothers. Only DO NOT use your FREEDOM as an opportunity for the flesh, but through LOVE seRve one another.”

After horrific man-made tragedies such as 9/11, the Newton shooting and countless massacres that fill our collective conscience, we often wonder why God (all-powerful, loving, and perfectly just) didn't stop it before it happened. Why didn't He save them?

Could God have prevented all these horrible events? Sure, He could bind our wills to His. He could have even prevented the fall of man from grace. But He didn't. That's the frightening thing about freedom. We are free to damn ourselves, free to make mistakes, to mistreat others and to be mistreated by others. Free to hate God, and with the fall of Adam, we are bound to.

And with the Resurrection of Christ, we are free and able to love Him through His own redeeming love. We are bound to Him in our baptism, strengthened and renewed in Word and Sacrament so that we can be damned to temporary suffering by the abhorrent misuse of the gift of freedom God has given His wayward creation—suffering enough to make the Son of God Himself weep, and so we likewise weep until we have no more breath. But once that breath runs out, that suffering ceases and endless joy takes its place.

It is impossible to reconcile the horror of the last few moments of life for victims of such violent atrocities with the idea of a loving God... until we know a God who chose to give His only Son up to murder, a Son who chose to endure those very same atrocities for us, to bear our suffering on His innocent shoulders unto death and to experience those same final moments of terror. 

Why do we constantly do such awful things to each other? SIN. Why doesn't God stop us? HE WILL, when the time is right.

Until then, we appreciate freedom for what it is: a beautiful gift wracked by the consequences of sin. And we pray for strength against the temptation to take advantage of that gift, against the desire to become a slave to that freedom, and we try with all our sinful hearts to love one another as we have first been loved by Him. Exercise your freedom to not act as so many have chosen to act, curb your words and your actions, and refuse to be destroyed by them, neither in life nor in death.
Suggested verse to repeat if its a difficult day is from Romans 8:21a
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"Creation itself -------> 5 count inhale
will be set free." -------> 5 count exhale

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