Monday, August 29, 2011

Liberty Held Captive?

How can you be held captive and set free at the same time? Is it at all possible? Jesus came to set the captives free. I understand this is as being free from the laws of sin and death, though there are ministers that get deeper into that understanding to find that we are set free from much more, I like the simplicity of the main idea - free from sin and death. Nevertheless, there are those that continue to hold fast to the ways of this world and because of that belief, the laws that Jesus came to disintegrate has little to no effect on them. It is as if they returned back to vomit that they were once cleaned from.

For instance, this last weekend one of my youngest sons got married in the church that he and his siblings were raised in. I hadn't been there but a few times since their father and I separated and later divorced. The members of the church, the families of both sides, and all of the members that had moved to other parts of the country and in ministry themselves came for the wedding. There were so many people I had not seen in years and age comes into perspective when you see others. I had to be introduced to what I thought were strangers but actually the children I recall still in diapers all grown up. Usually when someone has to help me remember who they are, all that is said is their name and it takes me a little while to see that same little face in the expression of the now adult hoping for a little recognition. One of those that had to introduce himself to me was a man I didn't recognize at all. When he said who he was I remembered that his father was diagnosed with diabetes and had later passed on due to complications from the ailment. His father was a kind, gentleman, and always a cheerful giver. I didn't know much about his son other than him being so quiet and a few years younger then me; however, his sisters and I were about the same age. I really wasn't thinking to see that man this past weekend. I recall hearing that he was diagnosed with the same ailment as his father, his wife had left him, and he wasn't raising his children. He asked me at the precession line if I remember him. I had to be honest, this man asking me the question looked as if he were 70 years old. His glasses were so thick I couldn't hardly see his eyes and his body was so tiny and fragile. I answered him, "no." When he told me his name, I am not one to hide much expression, especially shock, amazement, or inner pain. We hugged each other and I had to quickly get it together for the next family member or guest to shake hands. I got through 10-15 more people before I started to cry. My sons thought it was because of the ceremony and tried to give me words of encouragement. I couldn't explain to them that it was something completely different.

I spoke to another woman who I thought I didn't know. We just began talking and waiting for the wedding to begin. My youngest son came into the room to check on me and saw all that were in the room with me. He saw the woman I was talking to and greeted her. It was a family member! I had to apologize because this had happened at least twice before. I said to her that she looks different every time I see her. She explained that because of the medication that she was prescribed, it has done so many different things to her body. I replied that one drug has one side effect that the doctor gives another prescription for but that one pill has two side effects as well. She agreed. Then I began to tell her that many times, the original ailment could be an allergic reaction that could be defeated with a change in diet. She nodded but the expression on her face told me that she wasn't hearing nothing I was saying. I stopped talking.

As each and every member of the church and visitors came through the reception line, they gave their hand to congratulate me or speak words of adulation about by son, the groom. Some recalled the sour words I heard from gossip in the past and didn't have anything to say. I saw it on their face as they tried to create a sincere smile or force my body to welcome their pseudo hugs of love. I never practiced that but it did give me insight to the house cleaning I still had to do with myself. I watched all of those people and how they have fared over the years. Some weren't walking as straight as they had been 20 years ago while others did a lot of talking to drown out the words spoken to them. There were people that only talked about keeping the weight off of them in years passed and while they did exactly what they said they looked like they were carrying a steamer trunk of regret and other unresolved problems on their backs. Smiling through all of those frowned lines looked so painful to do, still we got through it and the wedding was a success.

My youngest son made a toast that had many in tears. He was very eloquent if I may be so bold to write. The pastor and his wife had finished eating and said their good-byes. Once they were out of the building, the real reception began. Many who attended got up and danced. I use to wonder why the reception couldn't be this way with the pastor there as well. What was being done so wrong that he could see and hear it? Would it have been disrespectful to have the music playing and the dancing with him being there? In the Word, there was a celebration of the marriage. All that came celebrated! Still, it had been done this way for years. If it were up to me, I would like to see what would happen, if the dancing started with the pastor being there. Is he being excluded from the celebration or are we truly set free as the Word tells us that we are? I found that interesting.

Actually, I find the entire concept of freedom interesting. How far can we take this freedom in Christ? Is the sky the limit or are we afraid to venture forth? There is a reason why the angels asked God what is man that He be so mindful of us. Do we hold restraints on ourselves because we don't trust what we will do without the boundaries? If the family member believed that she would be totally healed if she changed her diet as opposed to her taking that same medication as she had been doing for years, would her entire life change? What would she have to complain about? Would all of that free time be too overwhelming? What if the man that was younger then me and looked 70 stopped believing that he didn't have to accept the generational curse of having diabetes because his father had it? What if he believed that Jesus actually did heal him by those many stripes and his health did a complete 180, what would he do with the rest of his life? What would happen if the woman walked straight again and the frown lines of worry disappeared? Could life be good for them again or would she find something to worry about?

When I took pictures of the wedding and the reception, I focused on my son, his bride, my family, and the new members of my family. I couldn't take pictures of all of the rest. It just put things into perspective as to why Jesus wept.

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