- And what should I do now? What state should I be in? That is the question. Is it better to submit myself to fate or do something to solve these problems of mine?
- To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?
I hope that most would agree that the second example sounds better because of the beauty of the language. Shakespeare (who wrote the second excerpt that comes from Hamlet) was a great playwright and poet because he was free enough to make use of the language, to push the boundaries of meaning and metaphor to put his meaning forth in creative ways. He was not bogged down by the small rules that new learners of English sometimes face. When he’s not worried about technicalities, the beauty emerges. He uses freedom well. The same should apply to us. When we stop worrying about technicalities, then the beauty of the love of the Lord may emerge clearly.
It seems that is what’s being done at the current Synod of Bishops on the Family. To recognise the ways to spread God’s love to ALL, especially to those who may have ‘irregular’ family relationships or otherwise. The bishops and our Holy Father remind us to try to be free from legalistic boundaries to love as we are loved. Jesus goes further in the gospel by reminding us that we need freedom freedom to loving all without suspicion or difference.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees for asking for signs, for doubting him and his message. The Ninevites and Queen of Sheba (or Queen of the South) were gentiles, outsiders but recognised the power of God and the majesty of God’s chosen king. They didn’t need special signs to recognise God so why did Pharisees? Freedom may be expressed such: to be able to do things new, unexpected, fresh. To venture out when we are free in our proverbial jungles. That’s what the Ninevites and Queen of Sheba did – expressed newness in their response. Freedom in how we can respond, not bogged down by legalism. Freedom in following how the Lord seems to be able to respond to challenges uniquely. Freedom in being able to embrace things we don’t quite understand but may have some faith in anyway.
Where does this leave us? We’re invited to live in freedom – from legalism and petty differences that cause us to pull apart, for responding with uniqueness and creativity in building the kingdom. Are we free? Yes! Do we act so? Sometimes. We need to remind ourselves of the need to be free, act as we are loved, and to love as we are loved.