And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.2 Corinthians 3:17b
I have the feeling that the African continent or Uganda is bursting with life. Lively and wild is the nature outside the cities, especially in the national parks. You can hear it pulsating all night, the birds chirping from dawn to dusk. Life: mammals, birds, insects, plants. Although we are just at the end of the dry season, things are growing and blooming, jumping and bouncing. And people. People are friendly, smile when you greet them. In the church services it is colorful and the worship is joyful and funny. Life seems to come out of every crack.
In Austria or Germany, everything seems more rigid to me. Much is paved over with concrete, gray. Everything is neat and tidy. Even in the forest it looks tidy. People rush to the next appointment, have to do this and that. A lot of work, a lot of money and everything is fine. That is the solution. Everything has to be optimized. We even need quality time with the children so that it is as effective as possible to have offspring, who of course must be well educated and well adjusted so that they are useful to society. Efficient must be the care. Zack, washed. Zack, dressed. Zack, combed and off to the breakfast room for feeding. That’s what hospital management or the head of nursing expects. Humanity is still beautifully written in the glossy brochure. Is that humanity when there is no time for a conversation? When a kindergarten teacher has to look after 10 children? No, the mom can’t take care of two children. It needs the quality care from the glossy brochure. And mom can go to work and finally be useful to society again, and then dad kisses them goodnight before bed because he doesn’t have any other time.
All that glitters is not gold
Here in Uganda, where I am writing this text, everything is much more leisurely. Here, life is certainly not easy and I would not want to carry water home in canisters for miles every day.
But we in Austria/Germany/ USA subordinate everything to capitalism, the market or whatever you want to call it. In short: money. Yes, we are prospering. We are doing well. We have to eat, to drink, a house, can make vacation, go to the cinema, visit events. A little luxury. Passing time on the smartphone, TV, computer.
I have the impression that we are in a golden cage in our rich countries. We only exist and no longer live. We are told what to think about Covid, homosexual marriage, climate change, nuclear phase-out, Ukraine crisis and so on. Woe betide anyone who has a different opinion. We are more and more constrained by laws and regulations that are only made “for our safety”. We are made afraid so that we follow these laws. Woe to us if the garbage is separated incorrectly! And you don’t keep the “social distancing”! Actually a perverted word, which could come from Orwell’s 1984…
We Europeans think we know and can do everything. We think we have a handle on everything. And yet we let a small virus determine our lives. The fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom – we seem to have forgotten that…
Why do we allow our freedoms to be taken away? Are we afraid that we won’t be able to cope if Daddy State or Uncle Sam doesn’t explain to us how to breathe in and out? Why do we fill ourselves up with work and the media? Are we afraid of having time to think about our lives? What about meaning? Are we afraid that suddenly everything we do will be empty and meaningless? What do we look back on when we think back?
We are created as free human beings. Free to do whatever we want – just not everything is good for us (1 Corinthians 10:23). Adam and Eve were even free to be obedient to God or not. Freedom also means accepting the consequences for our actions. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden. I have to say: I would rather bear the consequences for my actions than continue to exist in a golden cage and have my world go only as far as the bars. I want to go out into the “wilderness”, dare something. Do something seemingly crazy. I think that God sets us free. We don’t have to live in confinement anymore. When we give our lives to God and are disciples of Jesus, we are free. Sounds strange at first, but it is not. If we trust Him and listen to Him, He will show us things greater than we can imagine. Tasks, we do with all our passion and in them we will find fulfillment. We no longer have to live in sin, we are free from it. We no longer have to give in to every fleshly impulse. No: we are free from it! And the good thing is: our life gets meaning. We live for the Creator of the world and build His eternal kingdom, which will last even after our death and the end of the world. Our actions get a meaning that radiates into eternity. Isn’t that great!
And one thing is for sure: God wants your best! Start trusting and following him!