Through the Bible in a Year – April 28

The Scheme for March – April can be found here

Jos 23-24; Mark 5; Psalm 145

Freedom is elusive and unless the Son sets you free, deceitful

As the encounter of Jesus with the demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes opens – we can readily see the one who is not free, or so it seems. The focus is on the one who ‘immediately’ meets Jesus. He is in bondage, from two related sources. Legion, who possesses him, and those of the surrounding area who chain him.

Think what a figure of fear he would have been. The endless children who would be told stories about him, to keep them in their place. They would feel secure with him chained up . . . Their ‘freedom’ is defended . . . heavily

And Jesus frees the man by giving the demons permission to enter the swine. Note carefully what happens. The demoniac begs Jesus not to send the demons away, he is in their thrall.

but after he is set free (note, once Legion is departed, there are no chains) the people beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood. Ultimately they are revealed as the ones who are not free. They needed the demoniac to assure them of their Rightness – now they have no measure for it. Jesus as the truly Free one has come amongst them and they are revealed to be in shackles. He must go, or else they will not be able to maintain the illusion of freedom.

Freedom is the cry of the Revolutionary who brings tyranny, and the one who would seek we be in thrall to some other god. Only the Son of man can in truth set you free , all other freedoms are a deceit.

Through the Bible in a year – April 10

The Scheme for March – April can be found here

Deut 14-16; Col 2; Psalm 119:81-96

‘See to it that no-one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit . . .’

How easy it is to be taken captive. Of course this is not a frontal assault. This is not as if someone has stormed into our house and taken us all hostage. No, such captivity is ‘welcomed’ – we are ‘captivated’, entranced is a good word. Ideas, images, take hold of our thinking. We who were just a few verses ago seemingly captivated by the one who ransoms us, who liberates us, are now pondering those things which are upon the earth. We find ourselves caught up in controversy, a mass of words and thoughts which draw us in and then we find that they do not give us life.

There is so much in the world that so captivates us – it is all too easy. There is but one remedy, to through patient meditation root our minds in the Truth that is The Living One. To be alert to our souls anchor in Christ. As Jesus says, Abide in me, as I Abide in you. To dwell in Christ, to be at home in him, to know ourselves aas at home in him as he is in us reveals the falsity of those gleaming things which so tempt us away from the Hearth of God’s hospitality, as was the Prodigal, as were all the lost sheep.

There is but one problem, that he comes to us in ‘distressing disguise’ – so trained are our minds that we mistake the passing glory of the world for the Eternal Glory of Christ. Once more we are called to meditate upon Christ and him Crucified – there is nothing ‘captivating’, or entrancing there. Nothing to delight our passions and desires, just the pure appeal of Love. There is nothing in Him for our senses, just His presence as Gift.

The Christian walk is a long apprenticeship in learning the truth that Christ Crucified has become for us Wisdom from God, to become true philosophers, that is ‘Lovers of Wisdom’, The Wisdom present through all eternity. All else has been nailed to that Cross.

Through the Bible in a Year – March 29

The Scheme for March – April can be found here

Num 26; Gal 5; Psalm 108

‘Freedom’ is something widely misunderstood in the Christian life – it is not at all the same thing as the idolatrous notion of Freedom so prevalent in western Society, ‘Freedom from . . .’ an unrestricted life.

Those looking in Paul’s letter to the Galatians for such a notion of ‘Freedom’ will find themselves puzzled if not disappointed. Thus far Paul has spoken of their re-adoption of the Jewish Law, especially with respect of Purity, as a Slavery. The imagery he uses is that they are in effect offspring of Hagar, the ‘bond-woman’. but then he goes on in Chapter 5 to explain the nature of Christian Freedom – not freedom to Self indulgence. Thus Not the Freedom as we are taught to think of it. Put another way, OUR problem is that we understand the Christian virtues in isolation. IF Freedom is sucha virtue, then it cannot be so understood, for if Freedom were to self indulgence, it would contravene the Key Christian virtues of humility and Pride. Put another way it is slavery to self, masquerading as Freedom

No, Freedom as understood Christianly is Freedom to do what is right. We are not set ‘free from’, so much as we are set ‘free for’. Set Free from the effects of Sin, which are always and everywhere to turn us in ourselves, and set Free for Love.

Put another way, we are set free to reveal what we are in Essence, to reveal our true nature, Children of the One who Is Love. Thus Paul’s command to walk by the Spirit, is no more nor less than saying, now you are free to be who you really are, children born of the free woman, of the one who says ‘yes’ to God . . .