By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“LIBERATION— a celebration!”
“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:32
I have been writing this column for almost a year now. Just as a reminder… this piece is called “Faith Matters” because I believe it does. Faith matters, that is… as no one can avoid it… because we all believe in something… and that something is witnessed in what our ultimate concern is… How does one know what that ultimate concern looks like? Do a quick inventory. On what, who or where do you spend the core of your time and energy… your abilities and money? Ask a friend. Ask for an honest answer to what they see is most important in your life. Adjust from there or stay the course… faith matters. It does. Your faith. My faith. Our collective faith.
So, thank you for your comments and questions. What we do together is always greater than what any one of us does alone!
Now… on to that celebration of liberation… after all, the Fourth of July comes this week!
There’s a difference between freedom and liberation. Free is what we are and can be. Liberation is what happens to you whether you do it yourself or someone comes along to help. It comes as a result of being stuck; liberation comes as a result of being caught then released; it appears when the jailhouse doors of your heart, spirit, mind or body are opened and you become “free to move about the country…” as our friends at Southwest Airlines remind us.
Yet, some feel their freedom provides permission to hold others hostage… unleashing an oppression and bondage bridling others from a path of their own choosing. This would be a misuse of one’s freedom and ultimately keeps everyone captive to a cultural brokenness. It’s been going on since the beginning of time as people’s dignity and right to life have been stripped away being treated as property rather than as a human being.
Moses and the Israelites were in Egypt for over 400 years. Half of that time was in slavery. They experienced a bondage and a liberation that still has implications today. And this saga has multiple chapters as we still experience unrest in our cities and deep in our hearts.
The prophets of God were able to remind the people of Israel of their captivity. And over the years, they were captive to the Babylonians as well as their own selves when Micah reminded the people to “act justly, love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Isn’t this a recipe for the longing in our hearts today?
Paul Scherer wrote… “We find our freedom when we find God; we lose our freedom when we lose God!” Or at least to have used our freedom to walk away from that relationship.
In the end, we must ask ourselves what it is that really binds us? What is it that really holds us back from living deeply into the image of God in which we are all created? Simply, it is one thing… just one thing… ourselves! God does not bind us. God does not hold us captive. God does not keep us down. God gives life. God gives vision. God gives purpose. God gives us a love and grace to embrace and to give away to others so that the liberation we discover in God is extended throughout the world.
God works 24-7-365! Non-stop… as we are all wonderfully and mysterious connected in many ways. Grab hold of that truth. Let it set you free for a celebration of liberation! Boom! Aaahhh!
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four decades. Follow his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Your comments and/or questions are always welcomed to [email protected].