15th June witnessed the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, that ‘Great Charter’ of our civil liberties. Local school children took part in the celebrations in Salisbury, where a copy of the revered document is housed.
‘Freedom’ is one of the watchwords of our time. We rightly celebrate freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the freedom to get on with our lives subject to the rule of law. Magna Carta continues to enshrine our right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.
To be truly free is to be able to live as we should as human beings. Fish are at their most free when swimming in the sea and birds when they are flying through the air. That’s what they were made to do. Christians believe that human beings were created by God and for God. It is when we live as he intended that we find true freedom.
The human story is a struggle to find freedom from those things that enslave us and keep us down; the greed, hatred and cruelty that fuel man’s inhumanity to man. People may think that they are free when they live just how they please and give very little thought to others. But in fact they have become enslaved to selfishness.
Jesus came as the great liberator. His mission was to free us from the power of sin by his death and resurrection. In the words of what might be called the Bible’s ‘Magna Carta’ Jesus said, ‘if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.’ (John 8:36).
*For Holy Trinity Parish Magazine, Dilton Marsh and News & Views, West Lavington