“Let freedom ring...........!
Allow freedom to ring..........!
From every mountainside..........from every peak..
From every village and hamlet...
We will be able to join hands and sing...
Free and last, free at last;
thank God Almighty, we are free at last”
Words, that come at the end of the famous " I have a Dream" speech by Rev Martin Luther King delivered before a crowd of some 250,000 people at the 1963 peaceful march on Washington D.C.
Martin Luther King was one of many over the years who campaigned tirelessly and fearlessly in the civil rights movement.
Martin would be one of many who were persecuted, and still are today, killed simply because they dared to speak out for truth.
A few years ago a national holiday was declared each year in America, on the third Monday in January, this year it was Jan 18th.
Of course it is no coincidence that our minds and eyes are looking towards the very place that speech was first spoken. We all watched on in horror at the latest march, which was not in any way peaceful, in recent days. And all eyes will be turning to that place again on Wednesday 20th, praying for a peaceful day as the new president of the USA is sworn in.
As I’ve been reflecting these last few days on the situation, pondering what it means to be free, to live in freedom, to promote and stand up for freedom in our lives and in our communities, words of scripture have been coming to mind.
When Jesus began his short period of ministry on the earth, He announced He was the One that God’s people had been waiting for since the fall of humanity. He did this by reading a particular passage from the book of Isaiah—a passage his listeners knew was referring to the Messiah, or the Saviour of the world.
The words had been written hundreds of years earlier and spoke of a new freedom that was coming in the future. When Jesus stood up to read, He was saying the future had arrived.
“And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:17-21).
Jesus whole ministry was to bring freedom, freedom for the power of sin in our lives, freedom from the fear of death, freedom from the hurts of the past and present, freedom to live our lives in the knowledge that we are the Beloved of God our Father.
Years later Paul would write these words writing to the Church in Galicia.
“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
We may never be asked to lay down our lives as many have over the years, but we can all do our part to speak up for justice and mercy and healing in our own wee part of the world.
May God bless you this new day, and may our dreams of freedom for the captives never be quenched.