The Parish of Burchetts Green

THE PATH TO FREEDOM

Recently the news has been dominated by the quest of the people of Egypt and elsewhere for a more open and responsive form of government. The courage of ordinary people in standing up to what are, by all accounts, repressive and unpleasant regimes is inspirational. No one knows what will happen next. There is no clear path to a new kind of state, and we fear that the promise of freedom may yield to a new kind of tyranny as has happened in the past after revolutions in. Russia and Iran, to name but two.

We hear people cry for freedom of thought and expression and we wish them well as their story unfolds.


Despite often being associated with the keeping of rules, sometimes thought to be either archaic or an unnecessary restriction on freedom or both, freedom is actually at the heart of Christianity. God has always been on the side of the oppressed and Jesus knew it.


At the beginning of his ministry Jesus summarised his mission by quoting from the old prophet Isaiah: 'The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour...' Freedom is something to be celebrated, valued and protected. As St Paul says:'For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery'


Responsibility

But, as we know, with freedom comes responsibility. Freedom brings choice and with it the responsibility to choose wisely. Failure to choose wisely leads back from freedom to a new and often more severe form of oppression, as any addict could tell you. In writing to the church at Corinth, a particularly enthusiastic and wild bunch, Paul says this: "'All things are lawful", but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful", but not all things build up.'


Perhaps this is why, in speaking of freedom, Jesus says this: 'If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'


Choice

It is in taking account of the word of God, our creator, that we can find the path to true freedom. because we have access to the wisdom that allows us to freely choose what is good and right for ourselves and for others.


After giving God's wisdom for living to ancient Israel, Moses told them: 'I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you ...'We do well to follow Moses' advice.


Wishing you all every blessing , and life in all its fullness.

The Rev'd Keith Nicholls writes

Keith