Living free

It was fun having a party on Saturday night. We didn’t really know who’d show up, but people did and it was great to have a full house again. It’d had been a while. Good to laugh and to catch up and to play the hostess. I ended up having quite a few chats which involved reflecting on the past few years and looking ahead to the future. As I told the story of ending up in this house, explained the whats and whys of next year, and looked around at a room full of friends, I had an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. A sense of contentment made up of both excitement at what’s to come and nostalgia at imminent loss.

I couldn’t quite put it all into words but Peter’s sermon at church the following morning helped in that process. It was all about living free; about exercising our freedom with maturity and responsibility in a way that keeps us free. We thought about the things that capture our hearts and end up ensnaring us, and the ensuing need to think about what we’re doing. On the flipside, there was a call to relax and not get overly hung-up about stuff or be unnecessarily fearful. Lastly (the obligatory final point of a classic evangelical three-point sermon), was the exhortation to live life to the max.

And what does this living life to the max look like? Well, firstly it’s about doing everything to the glory of God, whether that’s pottering around Oxford, spending time with friends, doing my job, smelling roses, writing my blog, or drinking my cup of tea. It’s about living for others and for the greater good, not just for myself. And (another third point!), it’s about following the example of Jesus. For, Peter reminded us, there is no one more whole, more human, more free than Jesus who we love and follow. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t troubled and tired and frustrated and sad at times, but he wasn’t swayed by the rubbish stuff of life or the powers that be. Good to be loving and following someone who gets all this. And he came out the other side, taking me with him.

Sitting in bed on a Bank Holiday morning I’m enjoying this bonus day off and am looking ahead to the week. Not knowing what’s in store, I can least set off in the right direction, seeking to stay on track, keep my heart un-ensnared, hold onto my freedom and live free. Bring it on!  

 

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as you choose.

Take my will and make it thine
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord I pour
at your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.

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