“O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know
you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom:” BCP
These words – “to serve you is perfect freedom” – have been ringing in my ears all morning. The Lenten lesson I had on Time this morning was about Liberation. About being freed from the oppression that comes with many of our daily responsibilities or jobs.
Learning how to find freedom in a world that demands so much of us is difficult and requires something that we don’t often want to do. It requires us to STOP. And that word – “STOP” – is one of the central themes of this Lenten study that I am involved in right now.
My mind is so often preoccupied with preparing for the next item on my agenda that I don’t take time to properly appreciate the current item on my agenda. I’m often so ready for the kitchen to be cleaned up, that I don’t appreciate the time I have with my family at the dinner table. Or, I’m often so focused on getting Reagan to school on time, that I don’t just engage in conversation and laugh with her on the drive to ensure a good start to both of our days.
I have written about this before, but the only time I think I’m really absorbed IN the moment, is during worship service, and particularly when I’m assisting our Vicar. There are so many opportunities to do something out of order, or make an oversight, but I find that I feel fully engaged with something Bigger than myself when I am part of that worship experience. And because the congregants are so actively involved in Episcopal services, I also feel this focus and engagement with the Spirit every time I attend one.
These opportunities feel like “perfect freedom” because I am disengaged from myself when they occur. We are mostly self-absorbed, my-problems-are-the-world’s-worst kind of people. When we “turn our eyes upon Jesus”, that is where our liberation begins. We need to remember, as the author of today’s lesson put it, that we are “more than tools of productivity”.
So the key here, I think, is to actively STOP. When things begin to overwhelm us – especially our work or any type of oppressive responsibility – we just need to STOP. One of our exercises in this study the other day was to literally BE STILL for 5 minutes and DO NOTHING. When was the last time you did that? No phone, no book, no tv, no computer, no sleep, no talking, no prayer even. Just STOPPING, just to be still.
It’s a habit I want to pursue. Even if it’s just once a day. But 5 minutes isn’t all that long really so I think it’s something that could be beneficial several times a day. Because those 5 minutes could be the difference between oppression, and the perfect freedom we can find only in centering ourselves on Christ. If the Son has set us free, then we are free indeed.