For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
So often when we think of independence we frame it as freedom from, and rightly so: Freedom from coercion of all sorts, freedom from living according to someone else’s definition of who we are or how we are being called to live among and with the whole of creation. Indeed, we are all too mindful of the ways in which the church has been among those institutions that have used the language of do and don’t, right and wrong to harm.
The Galatians text captures the other side of this equation: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The freedom we have is a freedom for life in community that is rich and varied and blessed. Elisha is so compelled by Elijah’s life that he wants nothing more than a double portion of that spirit. Jesus sets his face toward a way of self-giving that turns the world upside down. You see it here, evidenced love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Freedom not from but for—for love, for connection, for life.
As we anticipate a Sunday with our siblings from Bridge Ministries we anticipate that this spirit will be on full display. Not that it is not complicated, but it just always is.
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