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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Independence Day, christologically considered

As we roll around to another fourth of July celebration, freedom is in the air...TV commercials use our founding fathers and mothers as shills for buying beer or upgrading our automotive status...there are fireworks going off every night now (presumably testing for Sunday's all-out fete), and we find freedoms bandied about on everything from self-defeating behaviors to the right-to-bear arms. What a magical day the Fourth of July is!!

As a Christian, however, my freedom came long before Thomas Jefferson ever arrived on the scene. As someone who trusts God in the power of the Spirit of the resurrected Jesus, freedom for me happened on a day 2000 years ago or so as I was lifted from the burdens of sin to the freedom to be human. Independence day--for me and other Christians--is Easter, the day on which our freedom is confirmed in the breaking of the fear-chain of death. When you are no longer afraid of death, living in freedom is quite easy...of course, that "death" can be a big thing.

I just read that almost a 1/3 of all our medical expenses are spent on the last two months of peoples' lives, trying to keep living even though there is little chance for a "medical miracle." Now, in the cases of people who are willing to test for new treatments or drugs, perhaps there is some justification for hanging around (I mean, how can we know what the miracle drugs are if we never give them a chance to be miraculous?), but most of it just seems like a big fear of death. Most people are trapped in the idea that life is limited to what we experience here on earth, and they will do anything to keep that experience going...too bad in some cases.

But there are also folks who know death is here, and are just waiting to say goodbye. Again and again I come across people so near to death as to have Her sitting next to me, and still breath is drawn until the last of the children can say goodbye, or the trusting spouse promises to be OK. Amazingly, death in those situations is graced with love, with life, and a true independence not tied to childish beliefs in sentimental afterlifes of clouds and angels, but an independence of love, of trusting in God that even though we are no longer around to supervise life will go on...And every time someone impresses me with such strong--what word is there but "faith?"--I hear fireworks and bands and celebrations for the true independence that comes from a God who trusts and loves us. Happy Fourth of July!


gail said...

I think you should have a "like" button for your thoughts.

I always wonder when people talk in terms of losing a fight when a person dies. You know, "after a courageous battle with cancer. . ." Maybe the disease is an enemy, but I don't think death is.

Scott Frederickson said...

Dear Gail,
You raise a valid point. A "battle" is often needed if we are not going to succumb to soemthing like cancer, but why are we unwilling to succumb? Is it so we can rectify mistakes, or do we want to spend more time doing meaningful things that we have not gotten around to doing? I have no doubt that many people fight cancer courageously,and that strength is a great gift...what I wonder about is why? Perhaps that is what I, not the people who have battled something like cancer, need answered...I don't know. Thanks for reading.