Freedom Isn't Free
As you are reading this, I'm sure many of you are making plans for 4th of July parties and events. Maybe you'll get the grill fired up, celebrate with friends and family, or shoot off a few fireworks. It is a great opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the summer sun. Of course, the 4th of July marks the 232nd year of independence from British rule. It is time to celebrate our freedom.
We can indeed rejoice in the freedom of being an American citizen. Yet it is important during this time of rest and relaxation to remember that freedom isn't free. Far too many have given the ultimate sacrifices for their country so that we could be free. One striking reminder of this fact is the Marine Corps War Memorial (affectionately known as the Iwo Jima statue) in Arlington National Cementary. It provides a spectacular view of Washington DC. The monument is dedicated to all the Marines who have given their lives to this great nation throughout the years. It is a solemn reminder that freedom isn't free. We proudly fly our Stars and Stripes because of the sacrifices of these men and women.
Just as we rejoice in the freedom of being an American, we can exult in the freedom of being a Christian. The knowledge that all of our sins are forgiven by the all atoning death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. Of course, this freedom was not free. Jesus Christ had to wage spiritual warfare against the devil. He had to lay down his very life so that we might have freedom and eternal life. As Paul writes in Galations 3:13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us." He took all of our sins upon himself. By his blood, the shackles of death have been broken. We are no longer captive to the devil. He has no claim over us anymore. By our baptism, we have been transformed from life to death, from slavery to freedom.
Martin Luther wrote about this in his work, On the Freedom of a Christian. He writes, "A Christian is free from all things and over all things so that he needs no works to make him righteous and save him, since faith alone abundantly confers all these things." Luther also writes, " A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all." As Christians, we live in the baptismal grace granted to us by Jesus Christ. He does the salvation. Our consciences need not be burdened by thinking, 'have I done enough good works?' For Christ has done it all for us. However, freedom is not license to be slothful and lazy. The United States would not be where it is today were it not for the hard working farmers and coal miners and workers of yesteryear. In the same way, we are called to embody the love of Christ in service to others. "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galations 5:13)
As you celebrate the freedom we have as Americans, give thanks also for the freedom we have in Christ.
Vicar Scott Busacker