“Release from oppression” is one aspect of good news Jesus came to proclaim. Perhaps for the first century, the oppression was the rule of Rome over Israel and the realization that one’s humanity was not recognized nor was there value in one’s abilities. I suspect today we would go for the definition of oppression as that which weighs heavily on our hearts and minds draining energy and enthusiasm and hope. What oppresses us? Finances, relationships, guilt over mistakes? Many feel very oppressed today and undervalued. The shootings in the news are the tip of the iceberg. The riots and destruction are also alarming. It is easy to have that dull sense of fear and anxiety as we face the world we live in and the future we suspect is approaching.
Jesus came to proclaim release from that oppression. How do we experience that release? Could it be a matter of how we focus and the voices we listen to? Does my value come from Rome, from education, from wealth, from loved ones or does my value come from the mouth of God? I sit on my porch and watch the birds at my feeder and tell them, “You do know sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds you.” The verse in Mt 6:26 reminds me that I am of more value than they. I shift my focus to the truth of God’s word. As I watch the destruction and uncertainty of news on TV, I remind myself that Christ is preparing a place for me for eternity. I may not die in a riot or from Covid but some day I will go to live in a better place. Death is inevitable but the destination is not. The sun rises and sets even over the good and the bad. I am a sinner but I am a forgiven sinner! So many things can oppress us and steal our joy and energy and ability to cope but Jesus came to proclaim release from oppression. The world’s lies are not truth and its pressures are temporary. Rafiki in Lion King, hits Simba on the head with his stick. Simba yells, “Ouch, that hurts!” Rafiki responds, yes but the way I see it, you run from it or learn from it.” We do not need to be running today away oppression but perhaps running towards the truth of God’s word. You are valuable and you are God’s creation with gifts. Blessings as you focus on him today.