Jul 01, 2019 • Written by Rachel Boulos
The Price of Liberty
The sun dipped below the horizon as the swelling crowds pressed in for a better view. We mingled with millions of other sweaty patriots armed in liberty foam hats, waving flags, and guzzling slurpees. Media cameras were posed. Famous news anchors reported a few yards away.
We had waited all day for this.
Our 3,000 mile round trip of the East Coast that summer was a conglomerate of sightseeing, trail-hiking, food-consuming, memory-making moments.
But this was one moment we would never forget.
We waited all morning for those oh-so-limited wristbands and roasted in the sun just to be a part of that long-awaited, infamous celebration:
The Boston Pops.
This time, on the banks of the Charles River, we celebrated Independence Day where the story of America began.
Suddenly, the age-old familiar song rang out across the land. As the orchestra strummed the National Anthem, I breathed it all in - the crowd, the singing, the glow of the river, the crystal-clear night sky. I envisioned the ships, the cannons, the men’s unwavering courage for the cause of liberty. The battle for freedom had been fought just over those river banks.
As the music crescendoed to a close, my voice rose in resounding chorus. Suddenly, fighter jets shot out from behind the stage, creating a sonic boom so loud I could hear only the sound of my own heart beating, echoed by the words, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Y’all. I have never felt so patriotic in my entire life as I did in that moment.
I may have even saluted. I just couldn’t help myself.
Every firework boom was palpable. Americans from across the nation united as we celebrated the one thing we all had in common:
The next morning, my husband and I meandered down The Freedom Trail, a red brick road that winds through the city of Boston, from one revolutionary moment to the next.
On the trail, I met a woman who recounted her heritage of sacrifice. For over 100 years, her family had surrendered their men on behalf of this country. Fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, and sons lost on the battlefield from the Civil War to present day. Decades of suffering and sacrifice as they buried their loved ones in grave upon thankless grave.
This family endured a century of pain, grief and loss so that I could be free.
Our history is full of men and women who knew that freedom for everyone would cost them everything.
Because true freedom is never free. It always comes with a price.
That day on The Freedom Trail, I was reminded of another trail in red. One that leads to a different battlefield on a grander, more cosmic scale. Where war was waged for our souls and blood spilt on that ancient hill of liberty.
True freedom - spiritual, mental, emotional, physical - comes at a price. Jesus counted the cost and took up the cross of blood and sacrifice so that we could be free from the power and penalty of sin. We are now liberated from our prisons of fear, pride, insecurity, shame, guilt, failure and disgrace.
It was for this kind of freedom that Christ set us free (Gal 5:1).
God’s freedom trail is paved by His grace at the expense of Christ, leaving us rich in joy, peace, and love. All these benefits are special promises that can be fully experienced by daily depending on God and His grace.
Jesus set us free so that we could live the way we were originally designed: for Him and for righteousness.
True liberty leads to love. Our freedom was not intended as a license for self-indulgence, self-promotion, and selfish gain. For “you were called to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love” (Gal 5:13). Jesus set us free so we could enjoy a life without oppression and tyranny, using our liberty to love as we have been loved. Our liberation from sin frees us to love God and others.
As we celebrate Independence Day this year, may we honor those who gave their lives so that we could live. Our freedom cost them everything.
As we celebrate liberty, may it point us to the One who led the greatest liberation movement of all time. May we live in greater dependence on the One who set us free and enjoy all the blessings we’ve been given. Those the Son sets free are free indeed. And may our liberty always lead to love.