Confined, but Free!

Shirley and I made a quick trip to Home Depot yesterday. We needed some raised bed potting soil to prepare things for planting some garden plants and flowers. Except for going to town to get food, picking up the mail at the post office, and going to the church building, we've been staying home, as requested, for almost five weeks.

It's a weird existence, isn't it? It's confining not to be able to hop in the car and drive to Kokomo to meet our good friend for lunch on Fridays. It doesn't feel very free to meet with folks via Zoom or FaceTime, instead of face-to-face. I could be content to be a homebody (like my dad was), and Shirley is a strong introvert. It has not driven us stir crazy to stay at home. Still, we feel confined by the restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

And yet.

In a Zoom meeting with our Church's Administrative Council, I asked folks to name some things we are still free to do, even though we are confined to our homes. The responses were quick and deep. Worship. Pray. Love our families. Draw close to God. Encourage others.

We may be confined to home, but we are still free in Christ! The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:1: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Jesus' death on the Cross freed us from the penalty of sin. His resurrection set us free from the bonds of death by making eternal life possible for all who trust Him. The presence and work of His Holy Spirit has set countless people free from guilt, shame, entrenched habits, addictions and all kinds of other brokenness.

In Christ, we are free! Free to love. Free to serve joyfully. Free to embrace holy living. Free from the past. Free to start over. Free to find victory. Free to dive deeply into an intimate, personal relationship with the God who made us. Like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, we are "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last."

It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Truth is, Paul wrote his letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians and to Philemon while in prison. He was confined, but he was free to continue to speak truth to the churches he founded and encourage them by writing to them. Paul was confined, but the Gospel was not.

The stay at home order has made some things in our lives inconvenient. It has made other things impossible, at least for a time. But we are still free to worship and pray and love and encourage. We can write notes and make phone calls and videoconference and get some projects done at home we've been putting off.

We are confined, but we are free! Thanks be to God!

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