This week we had a reflective chapel on the theme of freedom. This is an idea we deeply value as individuals and as a country, but it is also something that’s perhaps not as straight-forward as we might think, especially as we are living at a time of Covid 19 restrictions. Saint Paul explores some of the complexities of this concept in his letter to the Galatians. He says,
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.” (The Message)
Because it was a reflective chapel, we had three scenarios on freedom to ponder with our eyes closed (and with times of silence). You might like to use your imagination and consider these too!
(1) Imagine that you are in your bedroom at home ... and you are poking around in the back of your wardrobe ... or perhaps under your bed ... and you find a dusty lamp. You rub it and out pops a genie! He tells you that you can ask for anything you like, but because of Covid-19 the rules have changed, and you can have as many wishes as you like! Think of all the things you would wish for ... Imagine yourself in your room with everything you want all around you ... Now ask yourself, are you free? What does freedom look like?
(2) Imagine that you are watching the News or looking at a post on social media, and you are hearing all about the restrictions we have because of Covid 19. You have to wear a mask on a bus; you have to wash your hands; you have to keep 2m away from other people ... How do these rules make you feel? Imagine someone is interviewed on the News or responds to the post and says we should be free to do what we want - we shouldn’t have to do these things if we don’t want to ... Then someone else says we shouldn’t have any rules at all - no rules at school, no road rules, or rules about crime - because they all restrict our freedom ... Now ask yourself, are you free? What does freedom look like?
(3) Victor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who was imprisoned in a concentration camp in WW II. Prisoners were routinely starved, tortured and killed, and every moment of their day was controlled. Yet he said there was one freedom no-one could take away: the freedom to “choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Whatever happened to you, you could choose how to respond to it inside yourself, and that was freedom. Now ask yourself, are you free? What does freedom look like?
We finished chapel by reflecting on something else Saint Paul said: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3.17). We then watched this video which brought together all these ideas about freedom.
What will you use your freedom for?