LISTEN TO: K'Naan, Wavin' Flag (Official Theme Song of the 2010 World Cup, in South Africa) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBPygYAqAug
Please listen to this also! The joy contained here will touch you!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnxaMEAYRbg ( Wavin' Flag worldwide version)
Next week on Independence Day, July the 4th, we will celebrate the declaration of freedom the United States proclaimed against Great Britain over 200 years ago. This was just the beginning. Freedom did not come easy. The war itself did not end until 1784 -- some say 1795, when wars with the native American tribes ceased. The young nation experienced casualties of 50,000 from death, disease and injury - the highest per capita death rate except for the Civil War. A nation debt of 37 million was incurred; including an additional 114 million at the state level. Freedom comes at a price.
It is not easy to gain freedom. The people of Israel fought a harrowing struggle with Pharaoh before finally being allowed to leave (cf. Ex. 1-15). But even then the people weren't free. They longed for their old comforts in the former land of enslavement (Ex. 14:12). Freedom was uncomfortable. It took an entire generation to die out before it was safe to bring the people into the promise land. They needed to learn to be a people, under one God, together. They needed to learn to live under freedom's rules (Ex. 20ff). Freedom doesn't mean we get to do whatever we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want. Remember that classic example: "We don't get to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater." Freedom, as God designed it, is a freedom from bondage to sin, hatred, despair so we can love God wholly, and serve him wholly as we care for one another. So the Law was given as a "freedom code" to learn to behave and think as a free people under God and toward each other.
In Jesus we see true freedom -- a freedom that came ultimately at the cost of Jesus' life. The willingness to give up his stature to be a slave and servant to all. That is radical freedom. To be so free of selfishness, prejudice and fear and sin so that we sacrifice freely to inspire others to desire this godly freedom, the freedom earned by Jesus on the cross.
The truth is-- we will serve somebody or something. Will we serve God in Christ? Will we serve, our egos, our appearances, economics, real estate, power, prejudices, worldly principalities? Will we make our country into a idol? Be free! Serve as Jesus did, who embodied God's love and grace -- he was free to heal, forgive, even to confront those violated God's code of freedom. His freedom changed lives -- and still does.
So on Independence Day, let us not take freedom for granted. Let us claim national freedoms, and say, along with the Hebrew leader, Joshua, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”Josh. 24:15.
PRAY: "Lord, set me free from all that enslaves me, seen and unseen. Set me free to serve you and my neighbor."