With Holy week ending Easter, I wanted to pause for a moment and reflect of freedoms for a bit. One of the key elements of the US Constitution is Freedom of Religion. Some people have a hard time dealing with religions that are different then theirs. Yet under this piece of paper, the Constitution, once can practice their religion. Yet even today there are attacks on various religions beliefs, usually by another religious group. There is also a group known as, Freedom From Religion.” They have freedom in their title as do many other groups. So what does freedom mean to people.
Personally I really do not know but I will speculated on my own perspective.
Recently there have been reports from Egypt about religious persecution of the Orthodox Christians there. Just the other day there was a story about an Islam group persecuting another Islam group. Then there is always the battle of the Muslims and the Jews.
For me, I kind of chuckle at some of these conflicts yet they are very real. The biggest fiasco for me was the Catholics and the Protestants of Ireland.
For one to live free, one has to let others live free. Within this there are boundaries. So often one group tries to impose their will on others. This telling others how to live has been going on for centuries. Yet when the United States was formed a new experiment ushered forth. It basically said one had the freedom to practice their beliefs, within boundaries, without fear from others. The history of the world up until that point, one could ridicule, mock and use religion for personal gain and or control from others.
Freedom is living a life without a fence but respecting the boundaries of others.
Animals are caged, for what purpose, personal pleasure? Cattle are restrained by fences, personal space is marked by lines. Territories are marked by posts and signs.. What kind of freedom is there living in a cage? Having a fence around property? How open would life be without these constraints. Would there be a freedom in that? Would choices be restricted? Our very lifestyles become a self imposed restriction of small freedoms. It becomes a self imposed exile from certain choices. Lifestyles create an oxymoron of freedoms.
When Christ died on the cross, believers gained a new freedom but a freedom from what? Read Martin Luther’s, “Bondage of the Will.” There is a freedom of accepting the rules in the Bible, but it becomes a choice. When one says you can not live that way, that freedom is lost. Then a new freedom has to be perceived. What choices have been lost or what choices have been gained.
Freedom is a never ending ideal that has to be articulated constantly. To ignore freedoms and what it means to me is like becoming an ostrich. Then that is a choice, go bury myself in the ground and pretend it is not happening. So I have to ask myself, “Am I willing to let others live their lives within a framework of freedoms.”
Most freedoms in society were set for the majority of people, generally over 80%. Look at Easter, how many different Christian groups are celebrating. How many are being persecuted around the world.
Do not let others challenge your freedom, do not go into the cage door but honor and respect others for their beliefs.
Happy Easter….. He Is Risen…. Indeed He is risen.