Thursday, November 29, 2012

Freedom Perfected in Service

Only the Son can set you free, and we will only be free when we serve him as our master.

This has political ramifications.

Oliver O'Donovan writes that what happens in the church by the Spirit of God "is a paradigm for the birth of free society, grounded in the recognition of a superior authority which renders all authorities beneath it relative and provisional. We discover we are free when we are commanded by that authority which commands us according to the law of our being, disclosing the secrets of the heart. There is no freedom except when what we are, and do, corresponds to what has been given us to be and to do. ‘Given to us’, because the law of our being does not assert itself spontaneously merely by virtue of our existing. We receive ourselves from outside ourselves, addressed by a summons which evokes that correspondence of existence to being" (The Desire of the Nations, 252).

By contrast, the late modern social order in which we live conceives of freedom quite differently.

"The point of departure [for the modern social order] is the moment of 'free' choice, indifferent and indeterminate....Society derives from an original free compact of individuals, who have traded in their absolute freedoms for a system of mutual protection and government....It means that society's demands are justified only in so far as they embody what any individual might be expected to will as his or her own good. It rejects the Christian paradox of freedom perfected in service" (275).

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