But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. - Romans 6:22
Rescuers have been searching for signs of life under caved in roofs and toppled walls, in Mexico after this week’s devastating earthquake. When one person searching raises a fist in the air it’s a sign that everyone else should stand still and be absolutely silent so even the faintest of sounds from someone pinned under the rubble might be heard. There have been breath taking pictures of hundreds of people standing still with their fists in the air, waiting for just one person’s ears to pick up the faintest whisper.
During this same week, our President spoke at the UN to other world leaders, threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea, a country of twenty-five million people, in response to missile launches that have demonstrated Kim Jong-un is prepared to do the same. Both men are unequivocal: there is no destruction of the planet that would be too great and no death toll too high in defense of their nation’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, with silence and raised fists, the people of Mexico and rescue teams from around the world show the whole world the preciousness of even one human life.
These are two very different displays of freedom.
First, there’s the freedom to do anything you choose. It’s the kind of freedom featured prominently in advertisements for hamburgers and cars with slogans like “Have it your way” and “live life in your own lane”.
Alternately, there’s the freedom from anything or one who tries to rob you of your humanity. This is the freedom St. Paul describes finding in Jesus and he thinks it’s the only genuine freedom there is. Everything else is just fear, lust, jealousy or hatred dressed up in a cheap suit looking to suck your soul dry with promises of safety, satisfaction and evening the score.
The first kind of artificial freedom destroys your personhood and possibly the world. The later sacrifices itself out of love for the other and is the world’s only hope
Maybe this week we should pray for ourselves and the world, that we might be able to find real freedom. But instead of praying with our hands folded, let’s do it with fists in the air.