The Freedom of a Christian

Our God is a free God, all-powerful and able to carry out His will. He is not an idol who obeys human creators. In his freedom he has bound himself into a covenant with all his creatures, and particularly to those he created a people at Sinai. He does not wait on us to discover him; it is for us to wait on him, not because he needs our obeisance, but because he loves us. God comes and gets us, or rather he comes and offers his providence, and ultimately his own self to us, tangibly, in the shape of his son Jesus Christ, the first man and the true type of which all we are the antitypes.

Authentic human being is a life hidden in God with Christ (Colossians 3:3), in glorious freedom from cultural definitions, whether these are imposed upon us by career, gender, social standing, education, or tastes in material things. Our true life will be revealed in God’s good time. Meanwhile, God’s freedom is the guarantor of our freedom from the oppressions and obsessions of this world, which is the theatre for the working-out of God’s covenant with us, but not a permanent home.

Among the obsessions that afflict us here is a notion even more absurd than the temptation to create and control our own gods: the notion that we can and must improve upon God’s providence to remake the world to our liking. We see our results all around us. If we but knew, we might withdraw to our task: not to goad each other to improvement, but to give each other succor in the milieu where we find ourselves. To live for each other; to love each other as God loves us.

Love, if it is to be love, must be freely given, and so it is between us and God, and among us creatures. even the death our moralists, Pharisees, visit upon him.

The discourse the Owl set out to discuss, and to participate in, is that between God and ourselves as among us his people. If we maintain that focus, whether we find ourselves alone in a desert, or in the prayerful company of Jerome or Anthony in their respective deserts, we will have succeeded. For merely to be in prayer, or in worship that comes to the same thing, is to have arrived, to know whose we are, to be in our right mind, to have nothing to fear.

Leave a Reply