In the movie Brave Heart, Wallace rallies the troops for savage battle with the cry “Freedom!” This concept of freedom is at once a powerful motivator in human life and a destructive seductive force, pulling us away from the true freedom which God intends (and intended) for all of us.
In this current season I have been spending time meditating on and conversing about the cross. As always my friends at Street Hope are helpful in this meditative process. Initial conversations focussed on the forgiveness that flows from the cross. As people who are too well aware of our need for forgiveness this was a natural starting point. It is also the starting and ending point of much of the thinking of the cross. I am tempted to comment that “If all we know of the cross is the forgiveness which flows to us, that we have enough to meditate on for a life time.’, but I believe we would be much poorer than we need be if this were our sole understanding. A friend this week said to me “What God wants for me is freedom.” This fellow knows what it is to be incarcerated but it is not incarceration to which he refers. He was imprisoned, or as scripture often says “enslaved’ long before being locked up.
One of the great benefits of the cross is that Jesus won a victory over those powers of this age which would enslave us. At the cross He robbed them of their power! In our conversation we spoke about an imaginary alcoholic. This fellow has lied and stolen and abused. He is in dire need of forgiveness but if forgiveness is all he receives he remains enslaved to booze. What our imaginary friend needs above all is freedom! Once he is set free from enslavement to alcohol forgiveness can become effective in his life. In the world of twelve steps this freedom comes in turning our will over to God. In order to walk into this new found freedom we need to forgive and receive forgiveness.
Not all of us are enslaved to such socially unacceptable powers such as addiction but we are all enslaved! It is at the cross that the powers that enslave us were disarmed. Like a venom-less snake these powerless ‘powers’ cling to us and by their illusory power enslave us. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Again in the 12 Step world God is referred to as a higher power because through the cross of Christ he has disarmed these powers of this present age.
We can know freedom! We can walk in freedom. This is my personal desire and my hope for those in our Street Hope Community and beyond. The cross is a symbol of God’s forgiveness and it is also a sign of victory over the ‘principalities and powers’ of this present age. The cross is our point of entry into the Kingdom which has broken in to this age. This Kingdom continues to break in as we collectively and individually realize the freedom by which Christ has made us free.
On a personal note: I just had my review of my ministry as Community Chaplain. The final result is that I have been confirmed as Community Chaplain and my probationary time is over. This is good news! Several months ago this did not seem at all a sure thing but it is clear that God is at work in our ministry. PTL.