Bought with a Price

Posted: March 26, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

In my sociology class, we each have service learning projects for the semester. Currently, I’m working with a guy named Josh, on sorting out books at a local museum called on the Hosanna School Museum. Hosanna was one of the first three public schools built in Harford County to support the education of recently freed African-American slaves after the Civil War. Josh (who is from the country of Ghana in Africa) and I carpooled to the museum a couple of weeks ago, and on the way home, he asked me what I thought of slavery. I told him that I thought it was an atrocity, that it was completely unjust and morally indefensible for human beings to enslave one another.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I know I am touching on an extremely sensitive subject matter, and it is not my intention to treat the topic lightly in any way.

Josh told me that he agreed, but that he felt African-Americans today take freedom for granted. He told me of one of his African-American friends who recently informed him that she was dropping out of school because it was too much stress. “Guess how many classes she was taking?” he asked. After I shrugged, he replied “two,” with a chuckle. She didn’t even have a job. He said he felt that many had little concept of real work, and lived under a false impression of oppression in a day when they have the same rights as the rest of America. “Stress…All Americans talk about is stress,” he observed. “When I was growing up in my village, I had to walk 10 miles every day for water, before going to school. I woke up at 4 o’clock every morning and got home around 9 at night.” I had never actually met anyone from any village who lived under those circumstances. I’d only ever seen it on tv or heard stories. I thought maybe he was putting me on, but his countenance told me otherwise. “I think that, of anyone, I would have reason to be stressed. But if anyone from my village was given the opportunities we have here at the college, with a library and computers, they would take a book and study it until they were finished. They would work so hard!” He was flabbergasted in particular by his African-American counterparts (he told me he considered himself African, not African-American), because of the seeming lack of appreciation for past sacrifice evident in many of their lifestyles, in addition to the majority of the rest of America. He was shocked because he’d heard so much about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil War and all sorts of laborious movements, and yet the lifestyles he saw before him evidenced an attitude devoid of any thought of those times. I told him that it’s not just African-Americans who live with a disconnect between sacrifices made and the lives we now have. Everyone in America ought to appreciate the freedom we have that was purchased by our forefathers for independence from Britain, but we don’t. He was right…Most of my generation in America is lazy and ungrateful. Josh’s point remains: Those who have been granted freedom at the expense of the blood, labor, and toil of others, ought to express their gratitude every day by working hard and taking advantage of the opportunities provided by our ancestors.

Are you seeing the connection to Christ yet? By now, I’m sure you knew it was coming. We, as Christians, were slaves to sin and slaves to the devil by our very nature. We had no hope of escape, and the most amazing part: we had no idea the situation we were in. But Jesus came and, by his sacrifice of his blood and life at the cross, rescued us from sin so that we might live a life of freedom and deep fellowship with God.

Oh, but how I am so often lazy! How often I forget what happened nearly 2000 years ago. It feels so incredibly long ago sometimes, like ancient history. How many times I fail to connect the nails that pierced our savior as he hung in agony and my present day reality. Rather than ponder the crown of thorns that tore the flesh from his scalp, I check aimlessly through my friends Facebook statuses or glance through YouTube videos. Rather than consider how my Savior struggled for breath that he might utter, “Father, forgive them,” I think about such worthless things as what will happen on the next episode of 24 or who will win American Idol. Father, forgive me for neglecting to think often of your immense sacrifice of love, for without those thoughts I inevitably lose perspective on life. I don’t want to become lazy in professing your name to everyone around me. Your Gospel has power to propel me to advance your kingdom here on Earth, if only I would think often of it. As a former slave to sin who has been freed from a cruel Master at long last, I want to sing song and live a life that proclaims freedom and gratitude to a perfect, loving Savior and Father.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:1-5)

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

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