Our family enjoyed watching the inauguration yesterday. Like World Series games that air too late for school children to watch, this piece of history would have been missed, too, except for the kindness of snow in our area, closing schools and workplaces. As the President’s speech went along, we found ourselves asking, “How many times has he said the word freedom?”
Freedom is a transcendent value. However for freedom to enjoy its greatest promise in a political sense is dependent upon the inherent morality of the people governed. As with raising children, the more a parent can trust them to do the right thing, the more freedom we can give. Or, conversely, the greater the immorality, the more legislation is needed to direct actions. That’s why laws in our communities are becoming increasingly intrusive. One California city is even considering an ordinance mandating the particulars of pet care.
Spiritual freedom, on the other hand, is a personal matter, mostly independent of those around you and apart from your circumstances. The apostle Paul was imprisoned for his work preaching the gospel. In a political sense, he was literally in chains and closely watched by guards. But the letters he wrote to his friends were full of joy. Read the first chapter of Philippians, for example. His satisfaction and fulfillment came from his relationship to Christ and serving as God called him – no matter the circumstances.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” II Corinthians 3:17