March 16, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Seventeen

Week Three: Mission Field

Reflection for the Week: What encourages me to engage more fully in the mission field?

I broke my arm in kindergarten. Actually, my brother Tim did it, but that is another story. The doctor put a plaster cast on the arm that was rather heavy. I carried that thing around for weeks. Finally, the day came to have the cast “sawed off.” That didn’t sound good to me. But, everything went OK.

I remember the moment when that heavy cast was removed. My arm felt so light that it seemed to just float up from my lap unbidden. It was a joyful feeling to be freed from that thing. It is always a good feeling to be freed from things that constrain us or weigh us down. Maybe that is why I love that moment when the shoes come off at the end of the day. Why is it our spirits seem to naturally long for freedom?

I believe in part it is related to what Paul is saying in the text above. The life that we carry in these mortal bodies is of the Spirit. But, Spirit is something free and moving, like breath or wind, breathing in and out or blowing through. Spirit resists limitation or containment.

The story of Christ being raised from the dead is the ultimate story of freedom. In this story the Spirit frees us from the final constraint — death itself. Looking back from that reality we then see the other constraints put on people and know they too must be removed. Some people are wrapped in a confining cast of addiction or abuse that keeps their spirits from being free. Some are imprisoned unjustly, others trapped in a cycle of poverty. For a people who live in the day of resurrection, there are far too many still entombed.

Those of us who claim freedom in Christ must remember the line from the song by Solomon Burke “None of us are free, if one of us are chained.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, your Spirit frees me. May I use that freedom to free those still chained. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference