Idols and Freedom on the Edge of Holy Week

This morning, I again served as “the third Wednesday priest” for the Sisters of St. Anne at their convent in Arlington. The lessons were from the book of Daniel, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol, and so were thrown into the fiery furnace, and yet survived by God’s grace. The gospel was from John 8, where Jesus says in v. 31, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 

These scriptures about idolatry and freedom are fresh in my mind, as I consider that on Saturday, a group of us from Grace will attend the March for Our Lives in Boston, to witness against gun violence. Guns have become an idol in our American culture by those who oppose even common-sense gun laws, even in the wake of tragedy after tragedy. And the debate about guns includes very different notions of what “freedom” is, and what it means to be free. Are we only free when every citizen is heavily armed, and when citizens are “free” to purchase weapons designed solely for the destruction of human life, with little or no oversight, background checks, or insurance requirements? Does our “freedom” involve the right to intimidate or even to assault others, especially women and people of color, with weaponry? This could not be farther from the freedom that Jesus is describing.

On Saturday we will march in Boston, and on Sunday we will march much closer to home, on Eldredge St. and in Farlow Park, as part of our observance of Palm Sunday. As we begin to walk the way of the Cross this Holy Week, please pray that as a nation we will know the kind of truth that Jesus speaks about—the truth of love, the truth of the dignity of every human being, the truth that perfect love casts out fear—and that that truth will make us free.


In Christ,