Wednesday, August 02, 2006

freedom

Looking out from my window to the beach world this morning, there’s a ship cruising the sound that demands my attention. It is not an ordinary ship. It evokes more emotion than an ordinary ship just as a police cruiser evokes more emotion than the family mini van. There’s a battleship gracefully plowing the waters on its way to the naval base in Bremerton. It’s interesting how your pulse races when a patrol car eases in behind you. You instantly become guilty although you’re rarely sure of what, and most of the time even what you may guilty of is of little consequence to the police. If you’re on the wrong side of the law, the patrol cars become even more alarming. As I watch the battleship pass by, I’m fully aware that it is not on a mission. At least it’s not on a mission to do battle. It’s actually headed home. Probably nothing short of invasion would tempt the crew to about face and head away from home. The ship, in my eyes anyway, represents freedom, in fact freedom bought with a price. There is the obvious financial investment that comes along with a ship of this size. It also involves personal price, sacrificial investment as a matter of fact. I can’t help but wonder if the ship instills the same anxiety, boosted heart rate and sweaty palms from those on the wrong side of freedom.
Just as a criminal with half a brain would flee the presence of a patrol car, wouldn’t those opposed to freedom have that same reaction regarding the presence of a battleship. In fact as I ponder freedom even further, I can’t help but relate it to my own personal freedom. The freedom I refer to is eternal, spiritual, and life giving. I believe with all of my heart that I am free in eternity. I’m free in the present for the most part if I choose, but it’s eternity that I’m most concerned about. It lasts longer. I live among perhaps the most enslaved people in all of the United States, eternally speaking I mean. They are a people group who, at least among the majority have tossed away the keys to freedom along with a relationship with “The Key”, Jesus. They are enlightened here. They are wealthy here. They are technological here. The are educated here. They are physically fit here. They are among the most literate in the country here. They are also enslaved here.
And within this culture of slavery, the very signs of freedom tend to evoke the same sharp emotions as do the battleships to the dictatorial and the patrol cars to the criminal. Their hearts may race, their palms may sweat, their agitation increased by the presence of those freed and the fortresses that they reside in. I wonder why that is. I don’t really have an answer. However I do have a plan. Take off the sirens and the flashing lights. Remove the guns and the flags. Don’t announce your arrival, demonstrate your friendship. I’m convinced that part of the issue is that some of us have been free for so long that we take it for granted. We’ve formed a club. We’re so invested in our maintenance that we’ve ignored the opportunities to demonstrate by a life well lived the incredible gift that grace is in our lives. Maybe we’ve just forgotten how amazing that gift is. As a youngster I would eagerly show off my latest Christmas gifts during Christmas break to everyone who cared to look. However, by Spring break, I’d forgotten the gratitude and they no longer cared. Freedom, especially eternal freedom, is a gift that is as fresh today as the day I received it. I’m guessing that if I could figure out how to let my life show that, then people would not want to run from His presence or mine.

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