It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I recently had the opportunity to get a vaccination and was so thankful. Many of my colleagues who work as hospital and hospice chaplains got theirs as a part of their job. While my job often takes me to hospitals and I work with first responders, those activities are not every day for me. However, as I recently got asked to do volunteer chaplaincy with the fire department, they wanted all of us to get vaccinated for our work with other first responders.
My only physical side effect was a sore arm and some fatigue. The side effect I had not anticipated was a new sense of freedom. Freedom from the fear of contracting the virus and playing my part to eradicate the virus and reduce the likelihood it would be contracted by my family and friends. And I began thinking about the many verses in the Epistles that frame Christian freedom as the freedom to serve. Even with a mask and careful practices, could I do more now? Could I begin to volunteer with folks in need? Schedule some future youth events indoor in anticipation of their vaccinations too? Plan summer trips? Mission trips?
Perhaps you’ve recently gotten vaccinated or you’re scheduled. Are you feeling a new sense of freedom? How will you use that freedom? We all miss restaurants and family gatherings, small groups and worship, and those are slowly returning. But, as you begin to fill your schedule, how will you fill it?
I’m reminded of the professor who placed a large glass vase on his desk. He filled it first with large rocks, which he said were the most important things in life - family, friends, work, worship, volunteering. Is it full? Yes, they said. Then marbles - sleep and exercise and good food. Now, is it full? Yes! It’s full now. Then he poured in sand - movies and tv, hobbies, entertainment, etc. Now it’s full. Then he poured in a cup of coffee... there’s always room for coffee with a friend in need. We’ve had a year where we couldn’t do everything. Now we can do more. We have the freedom to choose. Will we fill the time with sand or place our rocks in first? Let’s place a few rocks together and use our new freedom to serve.