Tag: Pope John Paul II

Freedom involves others

Another Tweet from my friend Joyce Smith.

The quotation from Pope John Paul II is from a sermon he preached to young people in Baltmore in 1995.
It has a dual context.

First, it is a call to seek that kind of freedom which results not in self-centredness. Freedom is not about getting our own way regardless of others. This is enslavement and mainly to a ‘You’ which is a false self.

Real Freedom must be seen in context of the freedom of others. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Roosevelt once said: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

Pope John Paul’s words are actually those of Abraham Lincoln. Here’s an extract from his sermon:

“One hundred thirty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln asked whether a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” could “long endure.” President Lincoln’s question is no less a question for the present generation … Democracy cannot be sustained without a shared commitment to certain moral truths about the human person and human community. The basic question before a democratic society is: “how ought we to live together?

Surely it is important for America (and everywhere) that the moral truths which make freedom possible should be passed on to each new generation. Every generation … needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

This shared freedom was spoken of upon by President Barak Obama who preached a eulogy in 2015 for Pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who with eight of his congregation was shot dead by a gunman in Charleston. In an anguished sermon he pleaded that, my liberty depends on you being free too. In order for that to happen, President Obama said that we need a different road from that of violence. We need the road of grace and that, he said, requires an open mind and, more importantly an open heart.

So the second context of the quotation of John Paul II requires of us a persuit of freedom which centres not on what we want to get from life but rather, what we can do with and for others.. Freedom requires of us a life dedicated to the service of others. This involves us in seeking grace, as President Obama recognized, but a grace which is Amazing. A grace that can only come from God.

This is centred on living a Freedom that can ony be found in the truth of the Gospel – a truth which Jesus says in John Chapter 8, will set us free. We are encouraged to live in this truth. As Pope John Paul said at the end of his sermon:

Always be guided by the truth – by the truth about God who created and redeemed us, and by the truth about the human person, made in the image and likeness of God and destined for a glorious fulfillment in the Kingdom to come

[Mr G and Joyce]

Look at the birds of the air !

Another Tweet from my friend Joyce

This little robin sees signs of new life in the buds on the tree and looks forward to renewed joy. You just have to wait and trust. The Future is here! Don’t keep running around and chasing what is already in front of you.
You may well know this little ditty by Elizabeth Cheney

Said the robin to the sparrow,          
‘I should really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.’         

Said the sparrow to the robin,
‘Friend I think that it must be,
That they have no Heavenly Father,
Such as cares for you and me.

Of course the Sparrow is only half right. Our Heavenly Father certainly cares about the birds of the air but he does care for us too and he provides for all we need, even if that isn’t always quite what we want! Why not read and pray over Matthew 6:25-34 (NRSV or in your favourite version if you prefer

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Spring officially begins on March 21st but Nature doesn’t always check  the Calendar . Which is fine because the sooner Spring begins the better. We could wait a while longer but why don’t we take to heart what Pope John Paul II said in the picture quotation above. Let the Future begin today.

And don’t spoil it with anxiety and worry. There are two words which are underpinning this time in our lives and in our world. Kindness and Trust. Let God be kind to you and in return Trust Him. That’s what Jesus teaches.  Do not worry.! Easy to say; harder to do I know. But The Robin has arrived and the other birds are singing. Those vulnerable creatures trust God and rejoice. Why can’t we?

[Mr G & Joyce]

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.