The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Hands down. It's during the summer. It's close to my birthday. There are generally fireworks and lightning bugs. Lakes and ice cream. There are no gifts, and there is no obligation for it to feel or 'be' anything except a day to celebrate and enjoy. And despite all its imperfections, I am grateful for a country established to secure liberty for its people.
I personally think Easter gets the shaft because it changes dates, it's got a stiff, un-relatable name, and too many random animals attached to its identity. Why Peeps? It's like eating your own pillow but with gritty sugar on top. I can tend to overthink things, but if something's got a title and we're celebrating it, it should be clear. Easter? What is an Easter? SO much was fought for, endured, and SECURED for us that we celebrate, which is why I motion a vote to change the name to Freedom Day.
I ran across this quote from Ronald Reagan, and I thought it's a great starting place for what I mean.
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
The freedom that Christ won on the day we call Easter can't ever go extinct. But. We must fight for and protect our own hearts to experience the freedom that Christ secured for us. Like, all the time. During the rides to work, in the middle of the night when our minds won't shut off, in our problem-solving capabilities within relationships - the list in infinite. For some reason I lived a long time unable to really grasp this concept on a practical, results-producing level.
I mean, let's say we go back to the very beginning of 'us'.
1. Creation. 2. Ka-boom-bam-blast and Suckatron City because of inaccurate beliefs ACTED upon from the first ones created. 3. An earth entirely corrupted, requiring a fresh, floody start. 4. A rough go at getting anyone to trust God to be good, to get anyone to see by faith a Someone-to-make-it-right to come in the future. Some did! And they spoke creative, power-filled words that secured the entrance of Jesus onto the planet. 5. The entire time He was here, he encountered resistance and problems. Only to face abandonment for a job ONLY He could accomplish - secure FREEDOM for the people of the world for their own wrong believing. 6. He FINISHED the job He came and intended to do.
The amazing thing about choosing His freedom - it expands. When we have an understanding of His rugged love for His people, it will ooze into our words and our actions. (Kind of like those microwave peep experiments.)
I would recommend reading the entire chapter (at least) of Romans 6 in the Message, but Paul tells us about the freedom that we now have from sin because of Jesus. Basically he says, "Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did."
There is a very loud, unrelenting DEAD language roaring around us ALL the time. If we are in Christ, we've 'unplugged' from the sound system. But, man, does it still ring out. The point is not to condemn yourself for listening to the roar or condemn anyone else for not knowing the freedom we've found in Christ, but to cultivate our new language skills. In our new-found freedom from the 'sound system', it takes an effort to, as Reagan puts it in purely national terms, fight for, protect and hand on this Freedom to the next generation.
Paul points back to the very beginning, and says, "you know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom," he says. "Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits."
Paul tells those who choose the freedom that Jesus offers us, the new paradigm, the new identity - "But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!"
While it is still today, let us grip firmly to the truth that Christ has set us free, and that we share in ALL that belongs to Christ -- a whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Just a memorial to this Freedom Day.