by Rev. Terry Tripp
What is freedom if it is not interior? What I mean is you might be free from injustice on the outside, but you may be judging yourself on the inside. And that is not the freedom that God gives. For the Apostle Paul debates the judgment of the law versus freedom in God’s Kingdom begun in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord:
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Contextually, Paul is debating how keeping the Jewish law does not save, nor does it give freedom. He goes on to talk about this freedom being born in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who affirms and transforms us day by day. The foundation being love. The love that Boni talked about in our June blog.
Yes, we celebrate this week our freedom as citizens in a great country. But we cannot be blind to when love does not rule and when therefore all people are not free. It is the human beings’ right to know the love of their Creator and find freedom inside and outside to live in that non-judgmental love.
I think though for our purposes, pointing out that self-love is often the hardest to come by is where I want to land. That only in that self-love is there freedom within and then, freedom without. Most of you know my own story. But a concise version goes like this; born with cerebral palsy, I have spent most of my life learning to accept and love myself. My awkward contortions, tremoring and inability to sometimes even write my name, let alone fall asleep without medication, are constant reminders that I am in that category of unique and different – often garnishing stares by strangers who know me not. Those who do know me, seem to forget its presence.
A life-time of living with what you don’t want has become my calling card. But it also has become that divine encounter with a God who did not make it different and yet, has allowed me to do every activity and be in every relationship I ever wanted. God doing in me what I can’t do for myself. That is freedom. That is love. That is what Paul means.
CFDM NW is all about teaching freedom, living free, and being more in love with God who produces it all. Our nine months Spiritual Formation Program begins again this September with our 11th cohort (applications can be found on our website: cfdmnorthwest.org). And we begin our 8th Spiritual Direction Program, as well. For more information see our website. Meanwhile, celebrate freedom; inside and out.