Summer officially begins this week on June 21st according to the calendar and the moon. However, most people in the U.S. feel as if summer begins after Memorial Day. That being the case, many may feel that by the time the calendar says its summer it is nearly half over. No matter how you feel summertime is a time of letting some worries go. There is a freedom of spirit that happens in the summer even if you are working through the summer, taking classes, or have a schedule. The spirit of freedom is present in the longer days turning into comfortable summer nights and staying outdoors longer. In the blooming of flowers and the scent of food on the grill, time at the lake or creek, or simply resting a bit more. Our rhythm of life changes and we breathe a little deeper.
Freedom is a powerful word. It stirs in our hearts and changes our energy and attitude. Living in the U.S., freedom is celebrated and part of the cultural heritage. But freedom is also a part of the heritage of being a child of God. Freedom is a theme throughout Hebrew and New Testament scripture, and a cornerstone of faith in Christian and many other religious traditions. St. Pope John Paul II said, “Freedom is the ability to live responsibly the truth of our relationship with God and with one another.” Our relationship with God is meant to be a relationship of love. Love that is not forced but given as a gift and received freely. God’s love is perfect. It is unconditional there is nothing we can do that would cause God to love us less. When we experience God’s love, we come to understand in a powerful way that we are in fact “lovable.” We are able to come to the experience of the beauty and freedom of God’s love by the Holy Spirit.
What does this freedom look like? Why does God want us to be free? Wouldn’t it be easier for God and everyone else if we couldn’t make choices that hurt ourselves or others? A relationship that is controlled out of fear and anger is not a relationship of love. If we allow it, the Holy Spirit brings freedom from our fear, anger, jealousy, envy, etc. This gift of freedom can be experienced at any time. We don’t have to wait for summer, or after I get my life together, or finish school, we can live in Love in the present and the future.
“In this way the Love of God is revealed to us.: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” 1 John 4: 9-11