Galatians 5:1a “For freedom Christ has set us free.”
The last two lines of the first verse of The Star Spangled Banner are: “On, say does that Star – Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Celebrating the July 4 holiday this week bring the words the land of the free and home of the brave into focus for me. Not only do I reflect on Francis Scott Key’s words written in 1814, the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but I also reflect on what freedom means to me personally. Just as the meaning of the land of the free has changed over the centuries so has my personal meaning of freedom. When I was six, freedom meant learning to read and walking to and from school by myself. By the age of thirteen freedom was riding the bus downtown with a girlfriend for an afternoon of shopping. (I date myself.) By sixteen freedom was my driver’s license. The list goes on- high school and college graduation, first real job, marriage, children, retirement. All of a sudden, here I am in the present-at age 70. Choices still abound. As my definition of personal freedom continues to evolve, they do not seem as clear cut as some of the earlier ones did.
What has remained constant in my ever-changing definition of freedom? God’s presence is the constant. Joined with my natural growth simultaneously was spiritual growth. It is my connection to God that has given wisdom and discernment to the choices I make that lead to more or less freedom. God never changed but my awareness of the holy and sacred has. Spiritual practices or disciplines have nurtured deeper awareness. These practices have also allowed for the removal of distractions that take my focus off God’s presence. Three practices encourage grounding in God’s presence. They are scripture reading, prayer and journaling.
Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I will look to the Lord. I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Looking and waiting,