Blessings to You, WIN Community:
We have decided to invite guests from the WIN community to provide Sunday messages from time to time. This week, we are blessed to have a message from Reverend Dr. Sally Lentz Palmer of Laramie, on Freedom.
THE FIRST FREEDOM
by Rev. Dr. Sally Lentz Palmer
It is usually about 3:30 in the morning when I recognize I haven’t exercised my freedom of choice very wisely. It is my stomach that declares “Too many chips.” “Too much fried shrimp.” “Too much wine.” It is in the wee hours of the morning that I am reminded I have the freedom to choose. And so do we all.
It was our forebears who clearly wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, and among those are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Much is said these days about the Second Amendment, but we forget the First, or we take it for granted. The first freedom is to worship in the way we choose. Our forefathers knew oppression and hierarchies and so they carefully wrote: “…all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”
“To be endowed by our Creator” does not mean coercion. It means gift. We are simply offered. We are invited to know that Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness come from a Source. And, we are granted the ability to choose not just by our government, but by our God. This seems pretty clear in the Book of Deuteronomy: “See I have set before you life and death. Therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live.” As I understand it, we are invited every day to see the sunlight, the seasons, the sincerity of a smile, the suddenness of inspiration as something we are given.
The first freedom, then, is the freedom to see God in the midst of life, and to pray to the God who “endowed us.” But, we live in a marketing world and think we should measure Life by what is bought and sold. Or, we just forget our Creator.
So, on this holiday, we need not just to celebrate but to remember what blocks our first freedom. Surely, in America, the allure of the marketplace is most pervasive. But, two others, at least, block our faithful choosing. A second is the compulsion of desire: “Drink this, smoke this, eat this and you will be happy.” Twelve Steppers know otherwise. It is inner freedom that matters.
But, the third block to freedom is not celebrated with fireworks. It is subtle but real. For, each of us is free to choose a spiritual practice in spite of what any religion has done to us. Whether it is a church, mosque, synagogue, or New Age circle of believers, we have an “inalienable right” to know the truth of God. We have a personal right to ask the deep questions: “Who am I in the scheme of things?” and “What makes my life worth living?” And, we have a right to find answers with integrity.
Lest we become too vehement about the right to bear arms, we need to call upon the “army” of angels so we see the whole world as created by God and know we are free each day to say “Yes!” to God’s gift of Life. The first freedom, then, is to trust the work of one’s soul.
Thank you, Sally, for sharing this compassionate and thoughtful message. Wishing you all a fun and safe holiday!
With Gratitude and Peace … and Resolve to Make a Difference,