Freedom Is For All

June 23, 2021

Galatians 4.21-31   

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,
    you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
    you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Freedom is a popular theme in the media.  There is a show about the Under Ground Railroad, leaving slavery to gain freedom.  But we can look at news today and see that slavery exists in many places.  Children working in factories and on plantations still to make and grow things for us to purchase cheaply.  We hear of human trafficking for domestic servants, sex slaves/prostitution, sweat shops.  People still living without freedom.

As people who have freedom, and not just political and social freedom, but who have freedom in Christ, we are the ones who need to stand for the ones who are unable to stand in freedom; we need to speak for those who have no voice.  Freedom, as Paul speaks of it, does not just come so that we are free.  It comes so that we can share it with others.

Just go back to that picture of the Under Ground Railroad.  Harriet Tubman, and many others, risked their lives and their freedom so that others could also be free.  They did not reach freedom and forget about those still living in slavery.  They fought for them to be free as well.

We have a pair of tasks that come with our freedom.  One is to speak up for, and act on behalf of, those who still live in slavery in our world.  Doing what we are able to do to allow them to be set free.

The other is to speak, and live, the freedom we have in God’s grace in Jesus that others may also have that freedom.  Freedom from sin, guilt, shame and punishment.  Freedom to have life now and forever with Jesus. 

Freedom is a gift that comes with responsibility.  Let’s pray and work for the day when all will live in the freedom of God’s grace.

Song We Shall Overcome*

Prayer

God of all nations, we praise you that in Christ the barriers that have separated humanity are torn down.  Yet we confess our slowness to open our hearts and minds to people of other lands, tongues, and races.  Deliver us from the sins of fear and prejudice, that we may move toward the day when all are truly one in Jesus Christ.  Amen.

*My Grandfather was part of a Men’s choir many years ago.  They used to sing this hymn as part of their concerts when they travelled.  Sadly, as they went through on a tour through Michigan, there were several churches that would not allow them to sing this song because of its use by the Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s.  May we always stand with all of our brothers and sisters in their struggles against racism.

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