Monday, July 5, 2010

FREEDOM!

Every time I think about the word freedom, I imagine a line of men in kilts, their faces in warpaint, with spears in the air. In print, of course, the word is FREEDOM.  I thought of this word, indeed, this moment again last night with our house full of Beve's family celebrating Independence Day.  We'd given Jackson a freakishly large amount of drugs to keep him sane through all the festivities, ones sanctioned by our vet.  He stumbled and drooled all over the house and just as we all gathered on our front patio for a group photo, the poor dog collapsed in a heap on the porch, so his 100 lb body had to be lifted and carried away.  The rest of us stood together just as families have been standing together for generations to commemorate such a day, well-fed, ready for fireworks, happy to be together.
J with his uncles, Grampie and the Beve.  They really are giants, aren't they?
 But I'm not really sure that this sort of celebration means we understand freedom.  Or FREEDOM.  Often in the last ten years I've seen bumper stickers that speak of our military fighting across the world fighting for our freedom.  And though I have great respect for the very arduous task of our military in the two wars being fought now, I have a hard time thinking of what they are doing as fighting for our freedom.  Our freedom, our nation's freedom, was fought for and won at Bunker Hill and Concord and Lexington, Yorktown and Saratoga.  When those men ratified the Declaration of Independence on July 2, and signed it on July 4, 1776, that was just the beginning of their capital letter yell for our FREEDOM!  It took another 7 years to win that freedom.  Another bloody seven years.
  
And those fireworks we ooh and ahh over every year?  They're bigger and better and more beautiful every year as well, but started as copies of 'the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air' of war. WAR.  Our flag still waving in the dawn after a bloody battle inspired the incredibly difficult-to-stay-on-pitch song we call our National Anthem.   This anthem cries FREEDOM as loudly as anything, if we stop and listen to the words.

Around our table yesterday were some half-Norwegians (the Beve and his brothers), a good German (Thyrza), some half-Basque sisters (Beve's sister-in-law and her sister), and a couple of British Isle mutts (Grampie and me), and our kids, who are made up of all our parts.  Beve had set up a picnic table on the back deck in case our dining table wouldn't stretch, but I wanted us all around the table.  I wanted us to look at each other as we passed our food, to share our meal and our stories. So free, that we simply take that freedom for granted, so to speak.  Knowing we don't even have to think about it.  Because it was fought for once, and won.

Then fought for again.  Every war is a little about freedom.  Either to earn it, or protect it. 
There's freedom and then there's FREEDOM.  "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."  Galatians 5:1
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."  Romans 3:23

Jesus Christ waged a war to win our freedom from sin.  We were stuck in it, enslaved to it, as Paul writes in Romans.  He did it.  Went to war--to ugly, bloody war--for us.  And after all those words He said on the cross about forgiving His enemies, about committing His Spirit to God, what was coming was our ability to yell, "FREEDOM!"

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