What does that mean to you? What does freedom sound like? How do you define freedom? Freedom for who? Freedom for what? Freedom from what? Freedom to do what?
What is freedom anyway?
Are you free? What are you doing with this freedom?
… … …
A colleague of mine was celebrating that he has arranged a fly-by of a set of F-15 fighters for a community religious celebration of 9/11. I was curious, to say the least. Later, as he was telling others about the celebration, he said he was glad he was going to have “The Sound of Freedom” at his celebration. I wanted to make sure what he meant, and yes, “The Sound of Freedom” will be the two F-15 fighter jets.
I cringed. I am not good at hiding my emotions, and he was partially toying with me.
… … …
I remember the sound of fighter jets.
When I lived in down in deep south Georgia, one of the exciting things about the sleepy town was that the bridge four blocks away was high, and was not frequently travelled. So it was a bridge that fighter jets from the nearby naval base came to practice bombing. My sister and I would be sitting in the den, studying our schoolwork, and scree—ROAR would come rattling through the single pane windows of the parsonage.
We got pretty good at running outside and looking not where the sound was, but about two to three seconds ahead of it, to see if we could find the jet. Sometimes it would come back around for a second pass, and we covered our ears and watched it soar and rush over our heads. I must admit, it was pretty fun. There wasn’t much else to do in the town.
I know that sound. I can identify the different sizes of planes and how loud they are and how fast they can go. Other planes and helicopters flew overhead, at all times of the day and night. I am glad they never broke the sound barrier while they were close-by, the parsonage windows would have never withstood it.
I know that when those jets came to “bomb” our bridge they did it without ever dropping anything. They were on friendly soil, and the most they did to me was startle me when I was in my home.
Others are not so lucky.
For some, the same sound that is a novelty for me, is the sound of loved ones killed. For most of the world, the sound of fighter jets soaring overhead is not the sound of freedom, rather, it is the sound of oppression. It is the sound of a domineering government that has overrun the local framework that kept the country operating, and forced them out of their culture.
It is the sound of death. It is the sound of fear. It is the sound of nightmares.
… … …
What would it really mean for us to have freedom. What would it really mean for them to have freedom? What would it mean to come to realize that the difference between us and them is no more than what we have placed between us?
How do we claim a new sound of freedom.
God, forgive us. We do not understand what freedom we have. God, you have freed us from our oppressors, but we continue to insist on oppressing others. We have become oppressed again because we do not eve realize it when others are oppressed. God, these are our neighbors, and you have called us to love them. Help us to realize the way to love is through compassion, not oppression. God, do not forsake us even when we make such terrible mistakes. God, you have promised to love us, and your promise holds true even in light of our sin. God, thank you. Free us to love you more. Free us to realize the love that is between you and your people, no matter where they were born. Help us to see how far your Church reaches out into the corners of the earth, and join us in worship together. For that celebration will be the Sound of Freedom.