Reflection by Jo Herbert-James. Art by Chris de Hoog.
We all long for freedom, for ourselves, for our communities and for the world. In Christ we find true freedom and true hope for the future. In Christ we are set free to live life as God intended it - in loving relationship with Him and in community with others.
My painting depicts communities that are connected, growing and alive. A life-giving stream runs through the painting, providing plants with water and enabling them to grow. The communities are established near the stream and remain connected to Jesus. The dots represent seeds, new beginnings, new life in Christ.
Set Free Romans 8:19-21
By Jo Herbert-James
Creation is waiting. And this passage tells us what it is waiting for: for the children of God to be revealed (v19). This suggests that I – that each of us, as God’s people – are to be participants in the liberation of all of creation. Throughout scripture, God holds out this glorious promise of freedom for people. But the freedom of God didn’t just come for us, as the children of God – creation gets a part of it too. God’s children are revealed as they step into their inheritance of freedom, and then bring others, and creation, into that freedom and glory.
Freedom for creation looks like rivers that run clean, instead of being clogged with rubbish, or poisoned by chemicals. Freedom looks like seas that are a place of life, not hostile because of rising acid levels. Freedom looks like bird populations thriving, not being washed up full of plastic.
The world is hungry for us to step up in our calling to be people of hope. Let’s take a step today: to awaken to our own freedom, and share it with creation.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the freedom that we have in you!
Thank you that your constant invitation is to live deeply in the fullness of that freedom.
We pray that you would move us beyond an isolated experience of freedom limited to our individual selves.
May we realise our identity and inheritance as children of God.
Open our eyes to see where your world needs to be set free, and empower us to be conduits of that freedom in Jesus’ name.
Jo Herbert-James lives in the UK and is Tearfund UK’s Theology and Networks Manager.
Chris de Hoog is an artist and graphic designer living and working in Geelong, Victoria. He is married to Amie and they have four children.