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Read |John 8:31-36|
The secular world is inextricably linked to the spiritual realm and can trigger helpful spiritual lessons for us. Rescue videos of animals tend to trigger such lessons for me. My latest lesson came by way of a BBC report of rescued Bulgarian dancing bears. It covered the story of the century old Bulgarian tradition of dancing bears. These bears were tamed using what appeared to be cruel methods. They were chained, muzzled and enslaved. They worked along their masters on the streets of Bulgaria, dancing for money. The BBC program suggested that many of these bears were alcoholic along with their masters as they would drink beer, whiskey etc. In the 90’s dancing bears were outlawed and there also started the rescue of the dancing bears into a “dancing bear park” – a special sanctuary for these bears. The last dancing bears were rescued in 2007. (The Man Who Saved Bulgaria's Dancing Bears, BBC, 08/18).
Thinking about the experiences of these dancing bears, it’s hard not to see a connection to the ways in which we can come to live lives below the dignity God intended for us in Jesus Christ. In our neediness we become ensnared in the trap of Satan, who enslaves, muzzles and, chains us up. He offers us, and we take from him, what leaves us bound up with a heavy life. We dance for money: literally and figuratively. We use sex, drugs, music, parties etc. to give us relief. Unfortunately, such relief is transient and any reward is futile.
God, on the other hand, does not operate like that. He respects our free will but he offers us “training”. He reveals to us what is right and what is wrong. He does exercise His authority and sometimes that includes discipline (individually or corporately) when wrong choices are made. However His love reigns. He is our servant King. He will rescue us, wash our feet and wipe our wounds. He is our shepherd and will protect, guard and guide. When we submit ourselves to him He will provide comfort and peace. Under His reign of love and grace, we find sweet freedom and breathe the fresh air of salvation that Christ alone gives.
The dancing bears of Bulgaria now enjoy sanctuary. No matter how chained up, muzzled, addicted, enslaved we are, we too can enjoy sanctuary. All we need to do is reach out to Christ. He calls the weary and the burdened. (Matthew 11:28). Reach for it today with your heart and may the Peace, Love, Freedom of Christ always be with you. Amen.
If you have yet to reach out to Jesus Christ, today is the day. (2 Corinthians 6: 2). I assure you, that you will find He's been waiting with wide open arms to receive you. Take that step here.
Take some time today or during this week to meditate on the following scripture:
2 Corinthians 3:17
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is an educator, Christian education youth coordinator, author, singer, workshop and retreat leader, speaker and. founder and president of EarthBasic. However, she is first and foremost a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. You can connect with Carolyn on facebook, Instagram and here.