This Sunday is Reformation Sunday. The Gospel reading for Reformation day is John 8:31-36 -- and it's all about freedom. So . . . this week's blog post for "Opening the Bible" at i.ucc is called, "Trapped."

This Sunday is Reformation Sunday. (Can you say "Sunday" twice in the same sentence without being redundant?) I'd like to comment on the reading from John 8:31-36 and how it moves me today.

Sometimes everyone feels trapped.
  • Trapped in a job they don't like
  • Trapped in too many bills and not enough to pay them
  • Trapped in too many commitments and not enough time
  • Trapped in guilt with no hope of letting go
  • Trapped in anger without any hope of forgiveness or reconciliation
  • Trapped in anguish or feelings of separation or being outcast
  • Trapped in hate with no hope of finding love
I know I've felt any or all of those at one time or another. I've even experienced more than one at a time. I'm sure as you read you may be able to think of many, many more ways we can feel trapped.

Do these words offer hope and comfort?

John 8:31-32 from The Message. "Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. "If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you."

Is it as simple as that? Jesus teaches us to live out what he says to do and then we experience truth -- and we are freed by that truth?

How is that truth going to give us more time? How is it going to give us enough to live on? How will it take away guilt, anguish and anger? How will it take away hate?

I've always thought of life following Jesus as somewhat difficult. I've experienced hardship and confusion and a life that often feels pretty messed up through following Jesus.

But I guess this passage doesn't promise that the difficulty will be gone -- just that we'll be free. Free in the midst of the struggle. Free while we experience pain and loss.

Martin Luther -- that Reformation Dude -- endured hardship. I believe he also lived in the freedom we have in Christ. Freedom to live life to the fullest -- Freedom to love one another even when we really want to hate.

I want the freedom Jesus is talking about in these verses. Sometimes I really taste it and other times I wish it didn't seem so absent. I'm praying that God is revealing that freedom to all of us as God desires.

I'm happy for the freedom to let go and let God continue to do what God does. I believe God is still speaking,

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