Spiritual Places #9 Liberty… http://www.dennymeyer.me
When I first thought about it, Lady Liberty didn’t seem like one of the Spiritual Places that I would put on my list but then the promise of “liberty” is at the heart of my faith; she needs to be there. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he wrote, “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” That was, and is, a transformational scripture for me. The greatest challenge in life is living that out.
When you walk up to the statue and gaze up, you immediately have this rush of freedom knowing all the people who saw this symbol of freedom – of new life – of opportunity – of potential. It is nothing short of awe inspiring. Then as you walk inside and peek under her robe, as it were, you get to know her and her inner workings and marvel at the friendship that drew the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi to create this masterpiece of spiritual significance as well as engineering.
You read on the pedestal of the statue that poem that stirs any spirit to long to breathe the air of freedom:
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
“The New Colossus” is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus, written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
So go there sometime. Walk all around the base, look out toward the city and the waters. Take the boat to Ellis Island and see how immigrants brought life and energy to our nation and remember how blessed you are to breathe the air of freedom. Remember, too, that you are a pilgrim here – just a temporary resident of earth – you have an eternal destiny that is all about the freedom won for you. Remember that you have the greatest freedom of all – not found in country, flag, or politics, but given by your Creator. Give thanks for the freedom that has set you free.