Thursday, June 30, 2011
Law and Freedom
The 4th of July and Matthew 11:28-29 are both concerned with how freedom relates to law. In the Declaration of Indepedence we declared that governments derive their powers "from the consent of the governed." When a government abused its power we declared that the people had not only a right, but a duty, to change it. Those who create the law are free to change it. We are, as Lincoln so eloquently put it, a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
In the Gospel Jesus is referring to the Jewish religious Law when he says, "Come to me all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden light."
The Jews compared the 613 commandments of their religious Law to a yoke that the people had to live under. Jesus offered a life free from that kind of minute concern for what the Law says. He simply invites people to learn from him how to live and be good. The more we are aware of Jesus living within us and the more we internalize his values, especially his law of love, the freer we are to follow our hearts.