In the Lectionary

June 25, Ordinary 12A (Romans 6:1b–11)

False security is a lovely, loathsome thing.

In Philadelphia, I came across a striking sculpture by Zenos Frudakis. In front is a person in open stride, arms outstretched, face toward the sky. Behind the person are four vertical tombs. One is empty—the freed soul has just emerged. In the others, three more beings are coming out.

Immediately I marveled, What a picture of freedom! Then I saw the writing on the empty tomb where a head once rested: “Stand here.” The artist didn’t stop at expressing freedom; he wanted viewers to experience being newly free. I walked into the empty space and stood still. Then I took a delightful step into fresh liberation.

Romans 6 dares us to be free in Christ and not take bondage back. Even to stand up to death in the truth that life in Christ fears no one and nothing. It is a hell of an invite along with being a heaven of one. Being free in Christ for good requires that we tenaciously hold on to freedom in the face of intimidating circumstances.