Thursday, September 02, 2004

bondage

The theme of Greenbelt this year was Freedom Bound.

I'll have to admit it. I feel like I'm in bondage to something, and I don't know what it is. Perhaps it's my depression/ADD. Perhaps it's an inability to rise above circumstances, a helplessness that even forgets to call on God. All I know is, I feel my chains acutely and don't always know what to do about it. Yes, I am free indeed. I know that intellectually, but my guts don't feel it. Am I merely feeling the constraints of being a fleshy creature when all I really want to do is fly into Jesus' arms? Or can we overcome this frustration? Can we somehow get to the point where we meet Jesus more viably and in such a way as to banish our limitations?

Here's what I read from the book of Acts this morning. And in my attempt to be multi-media, you might want to get Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in your head for background music. :)

Acts 12:1-18

Peter's Miraculous Escape From Prison

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell.

He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.

Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals."

And Peter did so.

"Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him.

Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.

They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, "Peter is at the door!"

"You're out of your mind," they told her.

When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel."

But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then he left for another place.

In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.


The question for me is, "Do I get up when an angel strikes me on the side?" Do I realize that's what's happening? Or am I so dulled to spiritual movements, I'm not recognizing the blow for what it is, and remaining in my chains. Another question I can ask myself is this: "Am I guarding someone else's freedom?" Keeping it under lock and key? And what will happen to me if I am? Consider the guards. Yikes. And finally I realize that prayer is the fuel for all of this (vs. 5), and I surely don't do enough of that. Will I ever?

grace,

lisa

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog today is so true. When will we truly ever learn. I am looking at the fruit of the spirit, and one of the things that continually sticks out to me is that we can't produce on our own. We just have to abide and stay very close to the true vine. How are that is to do, not to take things into our own hands and holding on so tight. Prayer is the key, and why it is so hard I wish I knew.

September 2, 2004 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Recently, the bishop of my little Anglican Catholic denomination gave a sermon on Saint James, who the passage you quote here says was killed by the sword. It's interesting that one Apostle, Peter, was miraculously freed from prison, the other, James was delivered to the sword. Why did God intervene in one case and not intervene in another?

How can we find the joy set before us when the miraculous freedom Peter found is not our destiny?

How can we rest content in whatever God's will is for us---whether the sword on our neck or broken chains?

Lord, I lift Lisa up and pray that her depression right now will prove to be a gift that draws her closer to you, that her mourning will be turned into dancing, that in acknowledging her heaviness and turning to you, she will be blessed with an ability to find joy in the ministry she already has to those who seek a real faith and not a conjured "happy happy" one.

Sometimes the Christian life involves suffering. Help us all, Lord, to find you and your consolation and comfort.

September 2, 2004 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

I know. Why is prayer so hard? Why shouldn't I just be running into the arms of God every morning? He is my comfort, my guide, my love, and yet, the cares of life compell me to answer to them before I go to Him.

September 2, 2004 at 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"George W Bush is a man sent by God to lead this nation in challenging times," Florida Republican chair Carole Jean Jordan said at a meeting of the state's delegates held as the gala got underway.

September 2, 2004 at 10:05 AM  

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