As patriotic prose stirs the hearts of Americans on the 4th of July, let us consider the freedom we hold dear and its resounding call. From Pharaoh’s palace, to Calvary’s hill, to Pennsylvania’s State House in 1776, people have proclaimed freedom. A parting sea, the cross, and the ringing Liberty Bell have all symbolized the triumph.
Freedom’s call is not only to those oppressed by chains or laws, but to the fettered soul as well. Woven into the pattern of history is humanity’s struggle to attain freedom, often through intense sacrifice. This beckoning song of liberty resonates in every human heart, regardless of culture, creed, or circumstances-embedded in our DNA by the Author of freedom. Though hopelessness, intimidation, and fear may tout an advantage, our God-breathed spirit echos any whisper of deliverance.
As much as the heart yearns to be free, the threads of liberty are often intertwined with the propensity to relinquish it through apathy or insecurities, exchanging one form of slavery for another. The Israelites were free from their taskmasters, but the desert heat and seeming uncertainty left them longing to return to the security of slavery. Believers receive salvation in Christ, yet forgo the abundant life for institutional religiosity. America’s founding principles of liberty and justice inspire hope around the world, yet are gradually relinquished through apathy and the complacency of prosperity.
Each year, we celebrate the freedom we enjoy in this great country on July 4, remembering the courage and sacrifice required for our benefit. Each day brings opportunity to celebrate our liberty in Christ and His authorship of freedom, allowing it to saturate our lives. Whether it is physical, cultural, or spiritual, there is always a price for freedom, a requisite diligence to maintain it, and someone waiting to take it (or convince us to give it up). Galatians 5:1 affirms the responsibility of the individual for freedom’s keep-it does not endure if it is not guarded. May we learn from the annals of human history and stand firm in our liberation.
The following sonnet aptly reverberates the cadence of freedom that stirs in us all.
Sonnet “The Liberty Bell” by R.R.R. Moore
Ring loud that hallowed Bell!
Ring it long, ring it long;
Through the wide world let it tell
That Freedom’s strong:
That the whole world shall be free –
The mighty crowd, the mighty crowd –
That the proud shall bend the knee,
The haughty proud.
Ring, ring the mighty Bell,
In the storm, in the storm!
Brothers! It shall herald well
Fair Freedom’s form.
Ring it Southward, till its voice
For slavery toll, for slavery toll;
And Freedom’s wakening touch rejoice
Both limb and soul.
Ring it o’er the negro’s grave!
Ring it deep, ring it deep;
Its tones are sacred to the slave,
In Freedom’s sleep.
Ring it, till its startling tones
Thrill young and old, young and old;
Till despots tremble on their thrones,
And their blood run cold.
Ring it, till the slave be free,
Wherever chained, wherever chained;
Till Universal Liberty
For aye be gained.
Ring it, till the young arise
To Freedom’s fight, to Freedom’s fight;
Spring gladly toward the kindling skies,
All clothed in light.
Ring it, till the bonds of sect
Be torn away, be torn away;
Till every man, as God’s elect,
Kneel down to pray.
Ring it, till the world have heard,
And felt, at length, and felt, at length;
Till every living soul be stirred,
And clothed with strength.
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Sonnet “The Liberty Bell” by R.R.R. Moore, Published by the Friends of Freedom, 1844