Saturday, September 8, 2012

True freedom ... an everlasting inheritance

     With both political conventions over and the rhetoric going strong before the November elections, I feel compelled to pause and reflect upon promises made that cannot be met, hopes and visions expounded that are limited by our limitations and blindness, and a freedom professed by muttering lip service.  In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus had a man brought to him who was deaf, and because of his deafness had a speech impediment.  He was limited in his effectiveness to make a difference in society, and those who loved him were concerned for his welfare.  That is why they brought him to Jesus.  Was Jesus the last resort?  Or were they wise enough to realize that Jesus was the answer?

     Jesus put his fingers into his ears ... he touched his tongue and said "Ephphatha!" - that is "Be opened!"  The scriptures tell us that "immediately the man's ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly."

     I find the people and the leaders of this great nation stumbling over political correctness and mumbling about freedom in ways that can be pleasing to the ear or cute to listen to, but are lacking in truth and clarity.  They tickle the ear and the imagination, but their words and ideas are rooted in fantasy.  They promise what they cannot deliver, and make us desire that which they put forth as our wants and needs. 

     Their speech impediment comes from the fact that they have closed their ears to the Word of God, to the truth of the scriptures and the tradition of believing people, to the moral foundation that has been the building blocks of the nation.  Our religious moral foundation is being replaced with a secularism that is obviously not religious but is often not even moral.  How can they build upon a firm foundation of revealed truth when they reject any revelation that does not come from within themselves, from their need or want, from their relativism. 

     In Isaiah the prophet today we hear:
"Say to those whose hearts are frightened;
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense he comes to save you."
Then restoration is described, healing and power and renewal.
     Our politicians of all parties, our leaders of government and business, those who fashion and mold society say something similar.
To those whose hearts are frightened, I say
Be strong, fear not!
     The authors of the Declaration of Independence said that "we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable right, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  Noble sentiments.  We are a work in progress.  It took many years to recognize the humanity and equality of the slave, it took many years of persecution and hatred before the foreigner was welcome, it took many years before there was an equality among the sexes.  The work is not complete ... but we are doomed if we close our ears to the revealed truth of God, to the teaching and lessons learned by the church and  history, and to the basic truth that we are not gods, but rather those whom he loves and entrusts with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Today's Collect prayer says:
"O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption,
look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters,
that those who believe in Christ
may receive true freedom
and an everlasting inheritance."

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