Friday, July 4, 2014

On Fireworks and Freedom

I step out onto the stairwell and take in the 4th of July fireworks show by myself.  It's one of those perfect Abilene nights where the breeze hits just right, and I can't stop smiling.  The sparks fall glittering over the town, and I am thankful.  I am thankful for Freedom.  The pure grace of being born in this country is not lost on me.  The life I am allowed to live I will never take for granted.  But maybe it's the light breaking through the dark, the colors raining, the wind in my hair, but I'm thinking about Freedom.  I'm thinking about how it is more than a declaration or a constitution or a set of laws to be upheld.  It's more than patriotism and pride.  How many American flags wave in front of the homes of people still held captive?  

And I exhale it soft.  I am thankful that I have been set Free.  Will you teach me to walk in that Freedom?

I fiddle with the bracelet on my left hand.  It was woven out of red thread by women in Nepal.  I think about how God doesn't see international borders in this world He created.  I think about how we aren't all free.  I remember the sound of fireworks down the street from the little foster home I lived at when I was in China.  The construction workers would set them off each time they completed a new section of the building to ward of evil spirits.  I think about how we all have our demons.  I look out across this town I am growing to love so deeply, in a way I never imagined.  The words come like a whisper, "for such a time as this."  I think about how poverty can live right next door to affluence, and it can be hard to tell which chains are stronger.  

I think about what a Revolution can mean to a community, a nation, a planet.  

But this is not a revolution of independence.  No, this is a revolution of complete dependence on the One who said: 

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,    because the Lord has anointed me    to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,    to proclaim freedom for the captives    and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor    and the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty    instead of ashes,the oil of joy    instead of mourning,and a garment of praise    instead of a spirit of despair.

Yeah.  Give me that kind of Freedom.  Sign me up for that revolution.  He came and valleys were raised up, mountains made low.  The captive was set free and the prisoner was released from darkness.  And it is for Freedom He set us Free.  And what does that look like?

The big finish of the show begins and I can feel a cry rising up from my heart. My own Declaration:

I want to see strongholds bursting into flame.  I want to become more like You, proclaiming freedom for the captive and release from darkness for the prisoners.  I want to know what it looks like to live out of the Freedom You purchased for me, and then, I want to go and do that.