Thursday, December 13, 2012

Freedom or Bondage?

Thursday, December 13, 2012 -- Week of 2 Advent, Year 1
Ralph Adams Cram, Richard Upjohn, and John LaFarge
Architects, 1942, 1878; Artist, 1910


[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 936)
Psalm 37:1-18 (morning)     //      37:19-42 (evening)
Isaiah 7:1-9      
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12      
Luke 22:1-13

Luke's Gospel is very explicit about connecting Jesus' last supper with the Passover.  The Passover is the solemn remembrance of Israel's deliverance from bondage, oppression and slavery.  When the Jews were oppressed as slaves in Egypt, God bid them to eat the Passover lamb supper, placing some of the blood of the lamb on the lentil of the doorways.  In the morning, the angel of death visited the homes of Egypt and passed over the homes marked with the blood of the lamb. 

Luke's intention is an important part of the early church's preaching.  Jesus is the lamb of the new Passover.  His blood is a sign of the gift of liberation from bondage, oppression, slavery and even death itself.  With his resurrection is the gift of eternal life.

One of the major themes of scripture is that God delivers God's people from all forms of bondage, oppression and slavery.  It is God's will to bring us into a place of abundant life where we may be free.  Then, within that abundant freedom, we are invited to be as slaves again -- servants who choose the way of service for the sake of him who poured out his life for our freedom.  One description of our condition is this:  Freely, being responsible.

How much of what you do is compelled?  In what way does it seem like bondage?  Oppressive?  Is there a way to escape Egypt emotionally and spiritually?  Can you experience your true freedom? 

Who you are is not determined by what you do?  Your place before God -- your acceptance and state of being beloved -- is not affected by your performance of duty or obligation.  You are beloved and accepted.  You are not a slave.  You are free.

Now, within that freedom, what will you do?  Can you choose to be faithful to your obligations as a free choice of being responsible?  Can you allow God's Holy Spirit to guide you into true responsibility and liberate you from false bondage? 

For me the issue is always 'which is which?'  What is a true responsibility that I can gladly embrace, exercising my gifts through the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God?  And what is a false obligation that burdens and oppresses me so that I act out of a sense of bondage or resentment?  Am I living in Egypt or the Promised Land?  I can do the same thing as a slave or as a freely mature person.  The context, meaning, and motivation is everything.


Lowell
___________



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to: http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

2 Comments:

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated. Thanks. Needed this today with my incredibly demanding "service" jobs. Forget sometimes how much God is present.

Peace,
Janet

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks Janet,

I imagine you sometimes have to ponder, slave or servant?

Lowell

 

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