I’m on vacation, so this is a re-write from – believe it or not – ten years ago.  And, since it is being sent out a day earlier than usual – and at the suggestion of a neighbor – it comes under an altered heading.  Afterall, if you are at all like me, I don’t just get thirsty on Thursdays!  So, enjoy and be blessed (hopefully).
What does freedom mean to you?  For some it is living in a democracy.  For others, the opportunity to choose between many different options.  Or maybe no dictators, foreign oppressors, or fear of armed invaders.  There is also the joy and security of ownership rights and protected borders.
As we approach our national celebration of freedom and independence, many things go through my mind.  First and foremost, of course, is great appreciation for those who have given so much, and those who continue to do so, to provide and preserve our national freedom.  Then there is an extra day or two to relax.  Fireworks … after fireworks … after fireworks … and religious freedom, too.
I am reading an interesting book entitled “Till the Night Be Past (The Life and Times of Dietrich Bonhoeffer)”.  A quote from page 81 reminds me of why I am so uncomfortable around most conversations about prayer in schools and the USA being a Christian nation.  “(In response to the Treaty of Versailles), conservative churchgoers (in Germany) organized a faith movement.  This movement stressed complete independence of the church … Basically, the faith movement grew from the concept of a ‘folk church,’ which had long been popular in Denmark and Norway, isolating the worship and faith of each nationality.  This was the obvious foundation for the ‘German Christians,’ later so effective in supporting Hitler.  The movement tied faith to national pride.  It said faith sprang from tradition, from soil, from homeland, and from bloodlines.”
Religious freedom and prayer in classrooms are not the same issues, and Christianity cannot be legislated.  If a nation promotes religious freedom AND prayer in classrooms, then that prayer can be in the name of Jesus, or Allah, or Satan, or to any spirit that interests the teacher.  Governments are all about making and enforcing laws, but Christianity is all about the antithesis of the law – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What does the Bible say about freedom?  Here is a ‘tasty sampler’:  “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  (2 Corinthians 3.17)  “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  (Galatians 5.1“God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh … those who are of the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.”  (Romans 8.3,8-9)
Christian freedom is an internal thing … not an external one.  It frees us from fear, futility and failure.  It frees us to love the unlovable, trust the un-trustable, and believe the unbelievable.  Laws are always about rights and responsibilities, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about gifts and grace.
What is the basis of your freedom … and what does it mean to you?  For (true) freedom, Christ has set us free.  And these is nothing really wacky about that!

Let Freedom Ring