A narrow lane in Mdina, Malta
by Paul Collings
“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
I recall 34 years ago travelling back across the iron curtain, having completed a mission endeavour, conscious that I left many friends in Poland who were not so free to come and go across this border. As I travelled a growing awareness of the privilege and freedom I enjoyed began to dawn.
This difference between possession and enjoyment is well illustrated in the story of Louis Delcourt. He was a young French soldier during the First World War who overstayed his leave and, fearing disgrace, he decided to desert. He persuaded his mother to lock him up in the attic of their home and there she hid him and fed him for twenty-one years.
But in August 1937 his mother died. There was no chance now of his retaining his incognito and remaining in hiding. So, pale and haggard, he staggered along to the nearest police officer, where he gave himself up. The police officer looked at him in utter incredulity and asked him, “where have you been that you have not heard?” “Haven’t heard what?” asked Louis. “That a law of amnesty for all deserters was passed years ago.”
Louis Delcourt had freedom but did not enjoy it because he did not know that he had it. It is the same with many Christian people today. They have been set free by Jesus Christ. But they are not enjoying their freedom because they do not know that they have it.
How blessed we are we can come and go because Christ goes with us.
you have made all of the peoples of the earth for your glory.
You invite us to serve you in freedom and in peace.
Give to the people of all nations a zeal for justice
and the strength for forbearance,
that we may use our liberty
in accordance with your gracious will.
We ask this in the name of the one
who welcomes all to be free indeed.
Inspire us to live and worship in your freedom
and for the sake of your Kingdom. Amen.