Today in my Lenten devotional by Henri Nouwen I read that Freedom is the core of the spiritual life. And I think, Ha!
Not feeling very free today. I know. I should. I AM. And yet. Responsibilities often reduce the feeling of freedom, and exhaustive to-do lists seem to shackle the living of our days.
It’s a paradox. Clergy call on people to let go and let God. We summon the Spirit to give us words that will inspire and renew, comfort and challenge. We consider words and prayers and hymns every single week trying to weave together a suitable magic carpet for the Holy Spirit to ride into our sanctuaries. And as Holy Week and Easter loom large, our lives become fractioned frenzies of activity as we try to create the perfect, holy, divine experience for those who come, craving the Good News.
I pause to massage my neck, check my shallow breathing and read again: Freedom. Is at the core. Of the spiritual life.
One of the ironies when living a Spirit-filled life is that you can do everything possible to create an environment in which the Spirit should be sensed — and feel nothing. And on other occasions, with no effort and little or no attention to the possibility that the Spirit might show up, the sense of that mystical divine presence is undeniable.
But don’t you realize, God, that there is an optimum time to show up? Like when we have a whole bunch of people gathered to see you?
Freedom. Jesus was not free when the people waved Palm branches and welcomed him into Jerusalem. Jesus was certainly not free when they bound him and crucified him and hung him on the cross.
Why should we expect Holy Week to have a sense of freedom in it at all?
Perhaps because our 2012 Holy Week is actually a remembrance of THE Holy Week that happened 2000 years ago. And thankfully, we know how this story ends.
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Yes. And the truth is that despite our crazy attempts to orchestrate the actions of God, God will do whatever God chooses.
How crazy, that what God chooses is that we should live as loved and forgiven people, who can opt to live lives of frenzy and stress or relative peace and acceptance.
The choice is ours. THAT is the freedom.
I sense a walk beckoning me to come into the light now and exercise mine.
I have to agree “Freedom is the core of spiritual life”. For myself and I believe most, freedom is a choice. I choose to accept God (in whatever existence God is) has set my life in motion with a purpose. I choose how I practice my faith with the fear of heresy be damned (consider the root word and definition of heresy is freedom to choose). I choose to be happy, to forgive myself, to forgive others. The path to freedom is a series of choices. Along this path is freedom.
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