For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become enslaved to one another. (Galatians 5:13)
One of the most important and quintessential human rights is freedom. The ability to determine one’s own destiny and to have full control over one’s bodily autonomy. These may sound like foregone conclusions, however, we know that they are not since chattel slavery has been a major part of our history.
Earlier in this passage from Galatians, Paul reminds his church to never again submit to the yoke of slavery. This can be interpreted in many different ways, to be sure. Yet, we know that Christ himself would have included literal slavery on the list. As well as any time when a person’s ability to self-determine was taken away.
This most basic human right – to be free and to be able to have a say in what happens to us – is at the heart of the national holiday we will celebrate this weekend. It is not something that every human within our borders has had throughout our history. Nevertheless it is something that many have fought and bled and died to ensure. Sometimes fighting in battles and sometimes fighting with nonviolence and simply a willingness to stand up and refuse to be moved because we too are full humans, fearfully and wonderfully created by God, and deserving of full rights.
Freedom cost blood and sacrifice – something Christ paid two thousand years ago. Not so that we could lord it over one another and select some as better than others, but in order that we would become just as willing to give of ourselves in sacrificial love until all our fellow humans are free.
Strive for the freedom that Christ died for – one that is for all of God’s children. The one we are meant to seek every day. And light up the sky with that brilliance and beauty for all the world to see.
Blessings, Pastor Janie