Jesus: A Tribute to Freedom

Rev. Starlette McNeill*

This tribute was prepared for Village Baptist Church and presented on Sunday, July 6 2014.

My Country ‘tis of Thee,
Sweet land of Divinity,
Of Thee I sing;
Land where my allegiance is tied to his body crucified
With pierced hands and side,
He took death’s sting.

He is my Salvation Country, the Land of the purchased free ruled by the Savior King who took captive captivity. (1)  

His cross is our Statue of Liberty.  He takes the “tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to live free.” (2)  No matter our condition, irrespective of culture, his arms stretched wide in sweet relief. 

He did not fight with flesh and blood save his own: “Not my will but Yours be done.”(3)   Waging war on darkness without sword or soldiers.  But on an old rugged cross, he took a stand and won.

He died so that I can live again.
“Greater love has no one than to die for a friend.” (4)
He was resurrected, proving that Love never ends. (5)
“We are more than conquerors” because he always wins. (6)

Free to rule, he chose to serve.
Free to scold, he chose to save. (7)
Free to order, he chose to obey. (8)
Free to keep his love, he liberally gave.
Free to live eternally, he chose to die— just to show us the Way. (9)

Free to be God, he chose our humanity.
Free to sit in heaven, he came down just for me.

Free of guilt, he took my punishment.
Free to be strong, he became weak.
Free to be worshipped, he was condemned
The Word fell silent so that my life could speak. (10)

So I speak up.  I say it loud.
I am not ashamed of his gospel.
And this freedom makes me proud.

I have no fireworks; no parade is planned.
But, “Your truth marches on.” (11)
Ignited, I lift up my hands
To worship the Land I love
The eternal home: Jesus, the Brave
His name is Freedom; his citizens are called saved.

(1) Ephesians 4.8
(2)  This is an adaptation of one of the inscriptions on the Statue of Liberty which reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
(3) Ephesians 6.12; Luke 22.42
(4)John 15.13
(5)First Corinthians 13.8
(6)  Romans 8.37
(7)  The other options were blame: Jesus could have said, “It’s your fault.”  Chastise: Jesus could have punished us for being in the position we are in.  Curse: Jesus could have left us to our fate, affirming our sinful condition as justice for our actions.
(8)  Philippians 2.6-8
(9)  This use of way introduces the litany of “ways” in which Jesus practices divine freedom.
(10) Isaiah 53.7
(11)  These lyrics are from the “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” also known as “Mine eyes have seen the glory” by Julia Ward Howe and written in November 1861.