Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free."
As children one of the things we are all taught early is.. to “tell the truth.” As laudable as that is however, it is not until a bit later that we discover that to do so is often challenging and sometimes can be quite costly. For not only can this get you into various kinds of trouble by being honest when you have done something “wrong” but just so... you can, almost as often, get yourself in hot water for
speaking the truth about things people aren’t that ready to have to face (think about calling out the “less-than-above-board” practices of your company at work.. or the racist/sexist joke told among friends). Which is to say... the truth is not ALWAYS as popular as we are lead to believe as kids. After all, one needs only reflect on how often Jesus is seen “telling the truth” – about what real love looks like.. about how much God loves justice and mercy.. about how little pious piety means to God – and look where that got him!?!
The same kind of thing can be said about “freedom”. As kids we can’t wait to get out from underneath our parents’ thumbs. We can’t wait to be the “boss of ourselves” and be FREE to do whatever we want. Once again though, it is pretty quick that we can discover that being on our own can also be kind of lonely and scary. Or likewise, we rather quickly get confronted by the reality that being “free” not only means that there are no limits to what you are allowed to do but ALSO fewer constraints on what you are on what you are able to do.. that there is nothing holding you back from doing what you are “called” to do. As the saying goes “as often as freedom means being free from be held back something/someone, it is also simultaneously a freedom FOR/TO!!! (As in.. there are no walls keeping us from – allowing us to hide from – living into what our love for each other might ask us to take on.) Again, I challenge you to think of a single time Jesus used His power/freedom for Himself.. or to “opted out” of the messiness of life. “NOT my will but yours be done!” Jesus prayed.
As we enter this holiest of weeks of our church year may we all be ready to feel the deep truth of how much God’s unconditional love is revealed to us in Christ (most incredibly in Jesus the foot- washer AND as the one who calls out to us from the cross). So also though.. may that love reach deep inside of each of us and “free us” to see how we too are called engage even more deeply in life – free us to likewise love without limits, and give of our-selves from the heart. That being the “true” meaning of discipleship!
Blessed Holy Week to you all... Be well, be safe, be hope!
- Pastor Stewart, April 6/22