Many today live in places and times of incredible freedom. We are free to pursue doing what we want and like to do. Education is within our reach. Opportunity is available to more than at any time in our history. It is easy to assume what is, forgetting the price that has been and is being paid by many. Freedom is never cheap. Freedom often seems to be under threat. We hold freedom because of others. There was sacrifice by those known and unknown. Freedom was paid for in the lives given by the willing as well as innocent victims. Freedom often continues because of the tenacity of many. It is a priceless gift.
The price that has been paid can be shown by the lives of those that stood for freedom. Soldiers and other guardians of freedom have died in the face of battle and at the hands of assassins. Others were simply caught in the crossfire. In one old story, “at daybreak the jail was in an uproar. ‘Where is Peter? What's happened to Peter?’ When Herod sent for him and they could neither produce him nor explain why not, he ordered their [Peter’s keepers] execution: ‘Off with their heads!’” (Acts 12.18) Innocents paid the price.
The question left open comes with each dawn. What are you going to do with the freedom that you have? What am I going to do with freedom?
We should have no doubt that we have freedom within us. We can choose, though it may cost us our lives, safety, or surety. We are free to choose, for others or simply for “I”. In the moment, we can embrace compassion, mercy, and community. Alternatively, we can choose a road alone. Freedom gives us alternatives.
I find myself holding freedom with a tender embrace. I know that the sacrifice of others has brought me to this moment. I want to honor their sacrifice by making a difference to those around me. I want to make this world a better place. This moment is our gift of freedom.