Free from "this"; free to "this" - Part 1
One of my favorite shows of all time has to be Amazing Stories which I started watching in the 1980's. I have been watching the reboot of the series on AppleTV+ and just finished the fourth episode. Towards the end of the story one of the characters remarks that some dancers she had been watching with her daughter were "so connected yet so free". That phrase struck me. I would think that freedom and connectedness were antithetical to each other. But, as a Christian, this rings true because it describes my position as a son of the earth, son of a man, and a son of God perfectly.
As a human, absolute and total freedom from every burden is never to be my lot. Even thinking about what I am constrained to do I find myself in servitude more often than not. I need to eat. I need to drink. I need to sleep. I need to do a lot of things while I am in my earthly body. I am a slave to those physical acts. Now I can choose to free myself from them. There have been plenty of people that have gone on hunger strikes even starving themselves. But, while choosing freedom from satiating their hunger they chose another slavery. They had to serve their body as it shut down, little by little, until they were too weak to walk. Too weak to talk. They weren't free in the ultimate sense. They were free from something and inherited another service as a result. As a human I choose freedom and slavery at the same time. I am both connected and free. From birth I am dependent and, though I gain more and more independence as time goes on, I will forever find myself connected to something.
Now it is both God's position and perfect practice to be ultimately free. He is not dependent on anything or anyone outside of himself. It is no mistake that, in the Amazing Stories episode that spawned this line of thought, the dancers were dancing in front of a stained glass window that showed Jesus praying to his Father in the garden of Gethsemane just before he was to be crucified and die. He chose his allegiance there understanding that connection to the Father's will, to go to the cross, would continue the Dance the Trinity dance through all eternity. He knew that choosing not to do his Father's will, even though he would be "free" to do what he wanted, was not freedom at all. In fact, it would have been a slavery far too troubling for him and us.
The son chose to be free by obeying the Father. He chose the freedom of the Father's burden. He chose well for the burden that he would have inherited had he not obeyed would have been one that he was not to bear. That was not his - it was his Father's. His Father bore it well, the son would not have. Jesus offers me an easy burden to carry, but it is still a burden. His burden is light but it still encumbers me like he was encumbered by the burden his Father gave him. I can choose to carry another one, but that is not mine to carry. Jesus carries it well. I do not.
All this to say that the son of God, Jesus, sets me free through my connectedness to him through my acceptance of the invitation to carry his burden: the burden he gives me. I am truly, truly free when I become his servant. His slave.
In fact, I find that the alternative is a sheer horror.