Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Freedom: 'Tis the Season

For those of Judeo-Christian faiths, freedom holds special meaning.

For the Jews, tonight they will take Seder and remember Israel's release from the bondage of Egypt. Great joy and remembrence will fill their homes as they eat Lamb and matzo (unleavened bread because they did not have time to let the bread rise) and drink wine (the blood of the lamb that freed them--a sign on their doorposts telling the Death Angel to pass over their homes). All the little pieces of leavened foods and all the leaven will be put out of their homes before this momentous evening.

Christians see the lamb for a symbol of the death of their Savior Jesus Christ. Christians, followers of Christ, believe that through Jesus' death for them, they are freed from the bondage of sin. They see Jesus' miraculous rise after three days and three nights dead and buried as a miraculous beginning to a new Kingdom with new commandments built on the history of Moses and fulfilling all the prophecies laid out the night that Israel left Egypt.


Secularists see bondage in beliefs like these. All the ritual and rules and obsession with obedience to some Supreme Being you can't even touch or taste or smell or measure. It is so NOT scientific. Secularists can't quite square the fact that those who are more deeply religious have better health, more enduring marriages, more sex even, and report being happier.

Jews and Christians see freedom in beliefs like these. God guides His people and all people are His people who turn their hearts toward Him and seek to obey Him. Deut. 30:19 says that the commandments "are life". And Jesus told His followers that He came that they could live life "more abundantly". I John 4 is a great book to read to understand what commandments we are to obey now. Here's a hint: it involves Love. (It's not as easy as you might think.)

What is more enslaving than living only for yourself? What is more limiting than reducing your life meaning to the next high, the next lay, the next experience? Trapped in base addictions, living only for today with no thought or vision of the future is a prescription for sadness and despair and loneliness and emptiness. "Where there is no vision my people perish" (Proverbs 29:18). The Armor of God includes the Hope of the Helmet of Salvation--hope for a future world, a better world, a world where the leader is perfect and loving and peace reigns protects your mind.

This is what we all hope for, and this is why I love this time of year and am humbled with gratitude for my Savior and God, for my Country and for all the blessings given to me undeserving:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I hear a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are truth and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is a thirst of the fountain of water freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Revelation 21:1-7
Free at last.

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