True freedom isn’t found through political struggle, economic independence, or rugged individualism. Freedom comes ultimately through the heart alone. When we honestly look at ourselves, we find some level of both brokenness and beauty. Despite any of our gifts, we can’t be complete on our own. Realities of the world limit us. We need help. We need others. We need Christ. It might not seem to make sense, but rooted in relationship, we discover the meaning of true freedom.
In a healthy (not perfect) community founded on the love of Christ, we best discover a glimpse of who God created us to be. Whether or not we come from troubled homes or seem to have no one to call our own, we discover ourselves as part of a larger human family and purpose. Love, trust and mutuality help us mature and flourish. Forgiveness received and given makes us and others new. Shared service brings healing. We are never the center of the universe, but we discover our uniqueness can be used to bless others and our world. Best of all, through such a loving communion, we are drawn more deeply into the heart of all life and love, Jesus Christ himself.
Yes, we will all remain human, weak, and imperfect. The social structures that surround us will likely continue to reflect the brokenness inherent within each human heart. Yet despite these “realities”, Christ makes us free to love. Trusting him, we can therefore choose to bravely claim and embody the love given us first. Imperfect as we are, right now, no matter the risk or cost, we can seek to establish heart to heart relationships in his name. Within these relationships, we live out the gift of reconciliation, accept differences, and are empowered to help address any doubts and darkness within ourselves and our world. Miracles will happen. Hand in hand and guided by grace, we will experience the true freedom and transforming power found uniquely within the communion of saints. Rooted together in Christ, new life will most certainly grow.
Peace to you, and Happy Independence Day!
The above pastoral letter was originally published in Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s newsletter, The Messenger (July 2011 edition). To view the entire issue of The Messenger or to see the full calendar of events, visit: http://www.mlcas.org
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2011 The Rev. Louis Florio. All contents not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.