Lately, Charlie has been really interested in police officers. In their cars, their sirens, and even the star on their badge. Last week we saw someone getting pulled over and Charlie says loudly to the rest of us in the car, “Ohhhh, someone’s been naughty!”
That led to another discussion about what police do when they catch a “naughty” person. Someone at school had told Charlie about jail and how the police send people there. We spent time correcting that line of thinking and helping Charlie know enough about it so that he understands the concept of jail, but not enough that he becomes fearful (it is always a delicate balance). On our travels, I visited a few historic jails and while I myself have never been behind bars, I do know what it is like to be bound by something. I know what it feels like to have chains that constrict and weigh me down. And so I found it particularly meaningful to be asked this question on Sunday.
“Where in your life do you need liberation? Where do you need freedom? What is it you are bound by? Illness. Grief. Doubt. Fear. Addiction. Injustice. Discrimination. Hate. Jealousy.”
And then next question was, “What binds us as a people? What do we as a people need to be liberated from? Where do we need the freeing blood of the lamb?”
With the conversation swimming in my head with Charlie and the questions from the sermon on Sunday, I pondered true Liberation and in doing so, sought the wisdom of others. If you have heard me preach or read my devotions long enough, you know that I glean wisdom from Father Richard Rohr. He is a spiritual mentor of mine, and I read his devotionals daily. In his book, The Art of Letting Go, Rohr writes about the six forms of liberation.
- Inner liberation from ourselves (letting go of the centrality of the small self)
- Cultural liberation from our biases (which involves letting go of the “commodity” culture and moving into the “personal” culture)
- Dogmatic liberation from our certitudes (letting go of the false self and discovering the True Self)
- Personal liberation from the “system” (letting go of dualistic judging and opening to nondual thinking)
- Spiritual liberation for the Divine (some form of letting go happens between each stage of spiritual growth)
- Liberation for infinite mystery (the mystery that what looks like falling is in fact rising), which is really liberation for love.
This list helped me really start to think about parts of my own life that need liberation and so I invite you to think through this list and see which one rings most true for you. Ultimately Jesus came to free us from every chain, every bondage. And in every area, we are liberated most thoroughly through love. Because Jesus is love and all of Scripture is really a long and beautiful story about God’s love, we have that opportunity to be freed by love through worship, service, deeper discipleship and being together as a community of faith. Our job is to love others the way God has loved us. And the truth is the generous nature of divine love keeps liberating you and me at deeper levels, but it keeps going deeper with each chain we take off; each restraint we remove. And this journey we are on never stops giving. Why wouldn’t everybody want that?
Maybe because we don’t yet know what we are bound by. And so I invite you to look at this list this week and pray through it. As we prepare for Holy Week and the coming of the Prince of Peace into the crowded Jerusalem streets, where do you need liberation most and what needs freeing in your own life?