My friend recently adopted a frightened rescue dog. Because of its fear, the dog can’t be kenneled at night, but will lie on its bed and not move from it as long as the leash is clipped to its collar. Although nothing else holds the leash, it apparently doesn’t believe it has freedom to roam the house.
In the liturgy we “confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship p. 94) In our reading Jesus tells his listeners they were slaves to sin but he, the Son, makes them free. In the absolution, we are reminded again of the freedom given us through Jesus’ atonement.
Today we observe the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, when Luther and the other reformers rediscovered the free gift of God’s amazing grace, freeing them from bondage to laws imposed by the Church. It seems people continually have to learn to accept the free gift of freedom from the bondage of sin. It is easier somehow to accept a reward we feel we’ve earned than a gift without strings attached. But “thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
God of freedom, help us always to be thankful for the freedom you give and to always share the good news of your love. Amen. — RK