Since the day fell on a Sunday, Travis asked us to think of songs and Scriptures along the theme of "freedom". And the song that keeps running through our minds with that word is a Michael Card ballad about various disciples leaving their fishing nets to come to work with Jesus . . "It's hard to imagine the freedom you'll find, from the things . . you leave behind." That's the freedom we're pursuing, the freedom in Luke 14. It's the cost-counting freedom of choosing discipleship over any human relationship, or community, or work, or income, or place. It's the freedom that still feels elusive, though I'm down to one 16-kg red duffel to carry with me, and about five trunks of random papers, books, clothes, pottery, sewing and art materials, and other stuff to come later on our first trip back.
How does freedom from the tyranny of possessions fit with American Independence Day? I think the link is . . war. Something besides God always wants to dominate our time, our hearts, our thoughts, our priorities. And freedom-to (worship, vote, work, move) only comes after freedom-from. And the freedom-from only comes with struggle. That's the cost we count. That's the war that was fought by colonists, not that they did everything right, but that they were willing to lay down lives for a cause they saw as just. That's the daily taking up the cross, the boldness to say that something intangible is more real and more important than whatever we're called to crucify.
Independence is not really the goal of our lives anyway, but dependence upon the right things: prayer, friendship, community, family . . truth. Jesus said: you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So this process of purging is really a process of truth, the truth that our life is not found in this stuff, the truth that following Jesus is worth more than keeping hold of this life we've worked so hard to carve out.
Happy 4th of July.