Red and orange? Or red and yellow?

The world often seems to operate by a certain set of rules. There is a natural order, a law of nature, that keeps things in check. As human beings, it can be tough to tell where we fit into the whole scheme of things. Certainly nature has its effects on us. But much of the time, we feel free to bend the rules or to outright break them. This has led a number of people to wonder about freedom. What does it mean for us to be free? Does it mean that we understand the order of the world?

Listen to this song as you read these words from Paul:

Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–Romans 6:12-23 (NRSV)

What does freedom mean to you?

2 thoughts on “Red and orange? Or red and yellow?

  1. This theme, “Freedom”, has been reoccurring for me lately. I just finished a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who was sent to prison and died in a concentration camp just two weeks before the Nazis were defeated. Bonhoeffer has a famous poem called the Stations on the Road To Freedom. The four stations are: Discipline, Action, Suffering and Death. His feeling was that death was the ultimate freedom. It seems he also felt that, in order to be truly free, we must practice our own self-imposed discipline and service to others and not avoid suffering. Bonhoeffer continued discipline and service even as he was suffering in prison, when his “freedom” in the traditional sense was gone!

    After I finished that book, I began reading a book called Second Sight, by Judith Orloff. She discusses how we can use intuition to guide us on our journey. At one point, she states that, “the beauty of ritual is freedom…freedom to explore what you really want in life…to clarify your vision and desire.” I think she is saying that having some ritual in our daily lives simplifies things mentally for us so that we can use our mental energies to truly delve into what our purpose in this life is.

    While freedom often sounds like permission to go anywhere or do anything we feel like, I believe if we use our God-given intuition, we will see exactly where our freedom allows/requires us to venture. Freedom is actually quite a responsibility, as those of us who have been parents of young adults can attest. Helping a new high school graduate understand that, yes, there are all kinds of new freedoms now, but this actually creates many new responsibilities. As we mature (hopefully) we understand what a gift freedom is.

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