Romans 8: 1 – 2
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spiritof life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
This weekend those of us who live in the United States are observing the Independence Day holiday with barbecues, parades, family gatherings, trips to the beach, mountains and of course fireworks (and the occasional trip to the ER). In the midst of these celebrations it would be good for us all to take a moment and reflect upon the great gifts of freedom that we have been given. Not just the freedoms enjoyed as citizens of the United States, or of any nation that values such liberty, but the freedom we have been given through Christ…the freedom that inspired the call for all people to be able to live freely.
Today’s reading tells us of that freedom found Christ’s resurrection: freedom from sin and death, the freedom found in God’s grace and in the promise of God’s eternal love and presence in our lives.
This freedom should be liberating to us…allowing us to live our lives without worry that we are not good enough, without being afraid of making a mistake…and with absolute faith in God’s power to keep us and our children safe and secure.
It would be nice if life worked that way – if we really were freed from our worries, freed to have absolute faith in God’s grace; however, we are still human, and as humans, and as parents who love and care about our children, we do know worry, fear and uncertainty all too well in our lives. For all the joys of life with our children: celebrating achievements large and small, playing with them, going on trips, and helping them to grow up, there is also a lot of stress and (to be honest) a lot of work; life as a single parent can be very busy, not leaving us much time for to simply calm down and unwind!
So where does Christ’s promise of freedom come into action in our lives? Why do we still have struggles in our lives?
I wish I could answer the question of “why?” but I cannot…better theologians than I have been trying to answer this question for centuries and even they have not been able to find any real answers.
What I believe is that it is never God’s Will for us, our children, or anyone to suffer…just like us with our children, God wants to keep us safe and protected, but as our world is not perfect this is easier said than done…so just like when we are not able to keep our children from trouble, sometimes all God can do for us when we have a rough time is to love us, and offer us comfort and hope…
And this hope is the freedom promised in the resurrection of Christ: the promise that no matter what trials or struggles we face with our children, no matter how worried and stressed we become, or how alone we may feel at times, we are never alone…because God is with us always, both through the Holy Spirit and through those who love us, and care about us; as God reaches out to us through others to offer us hope and strength…and to shine the light of Christ into the darkest hours of our lives.
Freedom from fear, pain and worry, as well as freedom from sin and death means that as we are immersed in God’s grace, these things cannot destroy us, cannot separate us from each other or from God’s love, and cannot defeat us as we have been made part of Christ’s resurrection promise of new life!
And given this freedom, we can face life as a single parent as it comes to us, the great, the not so great, and the really bad, with faith that will give us hope and show our children that there will never be a time when all is lost, as our love will not fail them…just as in Christ we are promised that God’s love will never leave us!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you giving us the gift of freedom, and for giving us this gift through the sacrifice of our only son. Please help us to accept this gift into our hearts, so that we can see that we are always walking in the light of Easter…and please help us to share this light with all those who need it in their lives. Let us be good parents, and to move forward in faith, to face any challenge, worry or tragedy, remembering that it is the Risen Christ who walks with us, because, like us, you never want your children to suffer…but to be happy joyous and free!