I forget that freedom is the main objective.
I’m like that young robin who’s stuck in my garage.
He calls for help and hops about on last winter’s sleds stacked on dusty shelving. Funny, he fails to see the gigantic open doorway. His opportunity for freedom, for open air and sweet sunshine glows in the morning sun as big as a movie screen, but his frantic fear keeps him locked in his open cage.
His fear, his distrust in the design of his wings and the strength of the air beneath him have him caught. He is bound in invisible chains. Unless he takes a risk and thrusts his body on the air, he will languish and die.
It would be an unnecessary death, because the gateway to his freedom lay expansive, inviting and unbarred before him. There is no real danger, only a perceived threat of failure and pain keep him in the cluttered shadows of an imagined prison.
At the core of the gospel is unbound freedom. I’ve just finished a forty day read-through of the New Testament and I’ve turned back to Matthew to do it again. Reading the New Testament as a complete book rather than a collection of short stories and letters has given me fresh insights and a different understanding of the whole of the gospel and it’s intended impact on humanity.
The long-awaited Jewish Messiah was looked for to bring freedom, to usher in a new reign of peace, a new kingdom of perfect justice, an eternal government free of suffering, injustice, oppression and death. Freedom.
Jesus set people free, but not as a Caesar or a monarch. He pointed people to the open door of grace:
He set Matthew free from greed and the stigma of being “the tax man.”
He set Paul free from himself — his pride and religious perfection had a stranglehold on his soul.
He set that Ethiopian eunuch free from confusion.
He set Peter free from shame.
He opened the door to freedom to the bleeding woman — gave her a brand-new start.
He gave paralytics strength to walk on, lepers a clean new lease on life and Nicodemus freedom from the institutionalized religion that ordered his life and darkened his spiritual understanding.
He set Lazarus free. His friend who had been dead three days. “Come Out!” he called toward the tomb’s open door.
He used short, easy-to-understand words and phrases like:
It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Take your wings and push toward that freedom. It’s the very air beneath you and it will uphold you.
See the light? Feel the breeze? That is freedom and it is right there for you. Fly in it.