There is no such thing as being a little bit free.
There is no such thing as sort of being in prison.
Surely on this round piece of busted blue some would beg to differ, but the truth is, no one can be sort of free and sort of in prison at the same time.
The trouble with some of us is we wouldn’t know what to do with freedom, we being so used to the feel of shackles and chains around our hearts and minds.
For some of us life is just plain hard and disappointing and tragic. We just go on living in the shadows of our jealousies and anxieties, our lusts and our egos. Dungeon dwellers we are, having grown so accustomed to the darkness we are literally blinded by the light when it comes.
We are in need of someone who will lead us out of our dungeons and into that glorious light. Someone who won’t stop until our freedom is secured once and for all.
Half-way freedom is no freedom at all. Abraham Lincoln knew this.
In 1865, Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, sent three men known as the Peace Commissioners to meet with Lincoln. Everyone was war weary and anxious for an end to blood-soaked fields and bullet-riddled bodies.
These men were armed with a proposal to postpone the Civil War so that the North and South could ally against the French who had invaded Mexico in violation of the Monroe Doctrine.
These commisioners believed that this act of “alliance” would go a long way to heal the wounds wrought by such a brutal war. Jefferson sent these men “with a view to secure peace to the two Countries.”
Lincoln responded by saying, “There are no two countries…and there will never be two countries. Tell Davis that if you treat for peace, it will be for this one country, negotiations on any other basis are impossible.”
Lincoln, despite blistering criticism even in the North, held firm to his conviction of one nation under God, and that he would not “attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor….return to slavery any person who is free by that Proclamation.”
For Lincoln, it was all or nothing. He understood that unless he put it all on the line, freedom for the slave would never be achieved.
My Lenten journey this week has me thinking about freedom and one kingdom.
Jesus is heading to Jerusalem. His triumphal entry awaits. It will all seem good at first. But, “peace commissioners” will soon surround him, tempting him to take a short-cut, but there are no short-cuts with God.
(Close examination of a simple dandelion is proof of this. And there’s that Milky Way splash thing going on above our heads.)
In a few days, Jesus will put everything on the line. There will be no negotiations.
For some it won’t make any sense.
Like Lincoln’s critics who couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t just end the wretched war instead letting it drag on with more lives lost, more heartache endured, just for the sake of securing someone’s freedom.
Lincoln deeply recognized the brutal cost of freedom.
A thorough reading of history and its eye witnesses revealed the anquish he suffered as he pressed forward in his convictions.
Jesus not only will recognize the brutal cost of freedom, he will become the cost of freedom. A thorough reading of history and its eye witnesses will reveal how much He suffered to take us out of bondage and into His glorious light.
For finite freedom’s sake,
Lincoln walked the blood-soaked fields.
For eternal freedom’s sake,
Jesus yields a blood-soaked body.
Jesus’ Emancipation Proclamation is this…
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
The gate swings wide.
There is no such thing as part freedom- Nelson Mandela
Excerpts taken from “Team of Rivals, The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”- Doris Kearns Goodwin.