IN Freeport, Maine, not too long ago, pieces of the Berlin Wall
were displayed. One inscription on these pieces said, "Forget not
the tyranny of this wall--horrid place. Nor the love of freedom
that made it fall--laid waste!
Much has happened since that hopeful, heady time. The message of
freedom's power still rings through history and through our lives.
Despite this progress, however, situations in a variety of other
countries show that basic freedoms cannot be taken for granted.
Such challenges to human rights are not new. Paul, one of Christ
Jesus' followers, and other Christians were regularly imprisoned by
those who did not understand their teachings and their purpose.
Prophets such as Elijah and Jeremiah were threatened with death or
imprisoned. Martin Luther faced death in connection with his
efforts to reform the Christian Church during his day. And in
modern times civil-rights workers --and those brave people who
brought down the Berlin Wall-- faced down danger and death.
One common thread that runs through commentary by people engaged
in this struggle for freedom is the power of prayer to change the
course of events. And prayer can be our way to join the continuing
work for peace and human rights.
Paul's writings in the Bible offer much food for thought in
connection with liberty. One statement in his second letter to the
Corinthians says something significant about the atmosphere of
freedom. He tells the Corinthians: "Where the Spirit of the Lord
is, there is liberty."
The liberty of which Paul is speaking isn't political freedom,
per se. It is, rather, an understanding that each of us is actually
a spiritual idea of God and can never be cut off from His presence.
No prison, no war zone, no lonely night, is beyond the reach of
divine Love. Christ Jesus proved this even in the tomb. Our prayers
can affirm this for ourselves, for our friends, and for our
neighbors around the world. We can listen to news reports about
troubled areas and specifically pray to know God's permanent love
for His man.
Claiming the unbreakable unity of God and man, while not a
political act, can open the way for individuals and nations to find
freedom. And when we do this, we are helping the nations to
Individually, we can also strive to live within the atmosphere
of divine Love by treating those around us as we would want to be
treated. Expressing love and respect for our fellow humans--no
matter what their race, gender, national origin, or creed--affirms
our willingness to live in accord with the impartial love that God
gives all of His children. And loving others helps us as well. …