Set us free

Daily Reading for February 6 • The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.

The chains that bind us from claiming the abundant life that God has made known in Jesus are inside our souls and are self-imposed. Because we will not accept who we are, will not serve and enjoy our Maker as the person he has created us to be, we choose captivity over freedom. Set us free, O God, for although we have put ourselves into these chains, we cannot by our own devices break them. The habits of discontent are so ingrained in us that only a power beyond our own can eradicate them.

I remember two tales, related by Martin Buber in his Tales of the Hasidim: Rabbi Simha Bunam of Pzhysha once said, when he had grown old and blind, “I should not like to change places with our father Abraham! What good would it do God if Abraham became like blind Bunam, and blind Bunam became like Abraham? Rather than have this happen, I think I shall try to grow a little over and beyond myself.” The same idea was expressed by Rabbi Zusya of Hanipol, when he said, “In the world to come I shall not be asked: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I shall be asked: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’”

From A Gracious Rain: A Devotional Commentary on the Prayers of the Church Year by Richard H. Schmidt. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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