The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Letting go

Jesus wants us to release our grip on all kinds of obstacles, possessions

Cartwheels were tough for me as a kid. I never really got the hang of them. One has to be ready to let the body fly freely in order for a cartwheel to have any elegance. Mine were pathetic. I must have looked like a rotary fan with bent blades. The legs never straightened out as they rotated over my body. The hands wanted to touch the ground at the same time.

It was a control thing, or rather an unwillingness to give up control as I felt my body going upside down.

I can't say that my early cartwheel experiences have made me stiff and possessive in my adult life. But there are facets of my life and yours where we don't live as freely as we ought. Our lives tighten up around things over which we don't want to lose control. Yet freedom in Christ will only be ours where we find ways to stop clinging to our possessions, bodies and egos.

Reducing the entire message of Jesus to two words, I could make a persuasive argument in favor of the phrase: "Let go."

Jesus is constantly admonishing his followers to let go. He wants us to release our grip on all kinds of obstacles and possessions. Our fears, hang-ups, judgmental tendencies, fixation with money, narrow-mindedness, piles of stuff and self-centeredness all have to go. Oh yes, we also had better be ready to let go of our lives.

If we can't get this relinquishment assignment down, Jesus informs us we have no chance of experiencing abundant life.

Obviously, most of us fail in this relinquishment project most of the time. Why else are there claw marks all over our possessions, even fresh ones as we look up from our deathbed?

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