“Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last.” Is there any song more heartening than the song of one accepting the fact of their freedom from slavery? The slavery of poverty. The slavery of illness, the slavery of sin; and the slavery of our own ignorance, is forgiven.
This is the message of Epiphany, the message of accepting for the first time that faith that Jesus Christ has offered us, who choose to believe and accept his sacrifice. We no longer have to carry the baggage, the dead weight of our past sins. We are free of them.
We are also free to live a new and better life, loving God and loving our neighbors, as Christ has taught. A life of loving and being as righteous, kind, gentle, and forgiving as we can be, knowing that we are readily forgiven by God.
Isaiah spoke of it 28 centuries before our time when he said, “a day to humble oneself ..., a day acceptable to the Lord, ... To undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free. Is it not to share bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless into you house, ... to cover the naked ...? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn ...” And the Psalmist will sing, “They have given freely to the poor, and their righteousness stands fast for ever.”
This is the time of the coming of our understanding; the understanding of God’s wisdom offered through the life Jesus, His son. We can allow the Spirit of God within us, to reveal what God has prepared for those who love Him. St. Paul went in fear and weakness to tell the people of Corinth this message. The message of Jesus death and resurrection as a sacrifice for them; so that they may accept with faith what the spirit offers. For it is the spirit of God that comes to us when we open our hearts to receive it.
Only then can we become what Jesus tells us we really are. “You are the salt of the earth.” He said. By receiving the Spirit of God we can then act as God would have us act. With that Spirit in us we become free and unencumbered to do God’s will. It is God’s will that we should love others as we love ourselves. Loosening the bonds and throwing away the fear of what others may think of us, and caring with love those around us who are in need is what we are asked by the spirit. “You are the light of the world, ... Let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. AMEN
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.