Our family is in Washington DC right now – in the first end of a summer road trip. Hanging out with grandparents brought us this direction and it’s been a lot of fun – but we couldn’t be so close to such an historical place and not visit … again. For all of us in our little family of four, it’s the third time and we all have our favorite places. For my son, it’s the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. I love the Lincoln Memorial because it brings memories of MLK’s “I Have a Dream Speech” as well as so many other events. But, on this trip, I was struck deeply by the war memorials. I had never before walked through them and I was struck with so many emotions.

While the WWII Memorial is impressive because of its sheer size, it was the Vietnam Memorial that really got to me. It was so simple and its simplicity is what makes it so powerful. It simply has the names of all who died on a wall that seems to go forever. The names are presented chronologically by the date of death – the sobreity of it was profound.

While I could opine on the horrors of violence and war, it seemed so beyond the point to simply bemoan the horrors of war and I was taken to a place of reflecting upon the very nature of our existence. Why do we fight for things? What is worth fighting for? How do we fight in such a way that life is honored? I reflected upon the nature of freedom. What is freedom? How we do achieve freedom? How do we maintain freedom?

Freedom is often thought of as the ability to do whatever you want — but what if that is a flawed definition of freedom? What if freedom is really the ability to be what you were created to be? Does that change what we fight for? Does that change what we see as valuable?

If freedom is doing whatever you want – then it could be argued that Jesus, the creator of the universe, wasn’t free. On the night before He died, He prayed, “Father, I’m not excited about dying … isn’t there another way.” (my paraphrase) He was not free according to the definition of “doing whatever one wants” but He was free if we see freedom as the ability to be who He truly was.

So, our freedom? It’s not about cash or government or any other thing so “benevolently” offered by democracy, but it is found as my true self is redeemed (through the cross of Christ) and as I allow that redemption to be integrated into the way I do life. Ah – redemption … being bought back, restored to my original design.  And, that “Freedom is not free.” It cost Jesus (I am so grateful). It costs my death every day to anything that is not the Gospel —

It is this that seems to be what is worth fighting for … even in my enemies.


~ by Ted Wueste on July 8, 2008.

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