Pausing to Bring Freedom

So according to Luke, early on in Jesus' public ministry, He goes to the synagogue as was His regular custom (which seems odd to me that Luke says this--don't we expect Jesus to be at the synagogue on the Sabbath? or is it just a reminder for us to follow His example?).  Anyway, Jesus picks up the scroll for the day's liturgical reading and reads from Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 
                   (Luke 4:18-19 which is from Isaiah 61:1-2)

Jesus then sits down and tells the congregation that this prophecy has now been fulfilled. He kind of takes it on as His mission statement in life. And as His followers, it's not a bad mission statement for us either. Proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind, freedom for the oppressed, and the year of the Lord's favor for all.

So the question was posed at church last night: "Where do you join God in bringing freedom to others?" It was said not that we look for new ways to join God's work, but that we notice where it's already happening in our lives. A friend shared with us her story of doing OT work in a hospital and her revelation of where she was bringing freedom to others. We were then asked to reflect in our own lives where this happens.

It's not an easy question to answer. When I was thinking about it I felt like I was trying to come up with examples just to look like I do bring some sort of freedom to others.  I'm not sure we can always know where we bring freedom, but more likely we can come up with places we hope we're bringing freedom. For me it was:
  • helping the struggling student find the tools to move forward
  • encouraging the student who doesn't believe they can do it
  • empowering the student with special needs
  • talking with my immigrant neighbors
  • giving my son faith in himself 
 We don't all need to do prison ministry or smuggle Bibles into North Korea or the like in order to bring freedom to others. We do it in our daily work, in our daily living, where God has placed us. 

* * * * *

Our friend who was sharing about her experience mentioned needing to take "pause moments" during the day. She tries to do these during times when she feels her emotions getting out of sync with the fruits of the Spirit (you know the ones: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).

I like the thought. It's been something I know I'm in need of--I've reflected before that I need to be more intentional about God's presence throughout my day. I just don't do it well. Those "pause moments" get brushed aside by life moving ahead...or at least it feels that way as the busyness keeps on going and I give myself pause to stand still for a moment. But a pause is what I need. Just a few short seconds. And so begins the goal to become more disciplined at doing that: first, being more aware of my emotions; second, allowing for a brief moment to re-align my spirit.

I've got a ways to go, but I know that I can best work with God when I'm centered and bearing fruit. Then I can join in the mission. Many people need freedom. I can join in bringing it to them, one small action at a time.

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