Spotlight 13/2020: The place of freedom

This place has a name: home. Because there you can be yourself. Thoughts on this year’s motto by District Apostle Michael Deppner from the Democratic Republic of the Congo-West.

I guess with the Covid epidemic we’ve all become accustomed to spending a little more time at home. While it is limiting, we can appreciate the fact that we were able to isolate there. Even though some things might have been missing, there is a certain feeling of freedom when we are at home. Imagine if we had to isolate away from home, like some people had to. There are stories of those caught on travels (vacation or business) and had to stay it out there.

One of the nicest things to say when you have a visitor is: “Make yourself at home!” At home, you are free to eat and drink what you want, you can be yourself. You choose who comes and goes, and who stays.

While we know that only when we are in our eternal home will be the freest, we now do have the home of the congregation. Maybe it is not always the nicest looking place, but do we feel at home there? Do we feel free there?

It is a place of forgiveness. It is a place where we can hear the forgiveness of sins proclaimed. We are made free there time and again (Acts 13: 38–39).

It is a place of comfort. We don’t really have to dress up so to speak. Despite our imperfections and failings, we can come before the altar of Christ without fear, for there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1). We can come as we are.

It is a place of nourishment, where we can receive the water of life freely. We don’t have to pay any other price than that of humility, attentiveness, a willingness to grow and learn..

It is a place of consolation, where we are surrounded by our brothers and sisters (certainly with their faults). It is a place where the Spirit, the Comforter, has come and is active to wipe away a tear.

In Psalm 118: 5 the psalmist says: “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place” (NIV). In other words, I had no liberty. But now he gave me space and freedom on every side, so that I could move without obstruction or pain.

Maintain the freedom

In Galatians 2, Paul says that a matter arose in the church in Jerusalem because some false believers had sneaked in to spy on the freedom that they had in Christ. He was referring to the fact that some were trying to bring back the Judaic custom of circumcision. It was an expensive, onerous, and probably painful rite, a law, of the Old Testament.

We have been made free, and do not want to go back to the past or bring in other elements which would jeopardise our freedom in Christ. It is the duty of the apostolate to ensure that this freedom is maintained, but we all must do our part.

We are free. It is not only a question of being free in the future. Christ has made us free and so we long to walk as those who are free until we can enter our eternal home. We don’t want to become slaves of sin again.

In the meantime, freedom in God’s house is nice.

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Michael Deppner