Jimmy McNeal

 
 

Jul 05, 2018

Let Freedom Ring

I laughed at my wife yesterday when I asked her what song she thought was stuck in my head on this 4th of July holiday!  I'll give you a hint...it's in the title of this blog. She went from Country to 90's hits that every kid had to learn in elementary school. She even sang these words....

"...and I'm proud to be an American!
where at least I know I'm free...
and I won't forget the men who died
and gave that right to me
And I proudly STAND UP...."

Anyone born between 1976 & 1987 knows that song well! You probably started singing it as you read the lyrics. I'll be honest, I am proud to be in this country, proud to be an American, and humbled that God would choose this time frame for me to live in. I think if I had the choice to live during any age of American History I would choose the here and now. A part of that is simply because of God's perfect timing in all that He does. Another honest deep rooted part of that contentment is also because I'm a Black Man. I can't lie, things aren't great as a black man in America, but they are far better than they have been over the last 200 years.

Although I'd love to have been able to March with Dr. King to Washington and worship with Mahaylia Jackson right before he gave his iconic "I have a Dream" speech. I would've also have loved to have been a fly on the wall when my ancestors finally found out that they were free 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. I'd maybe want to go back in time and meet the first Black man, woman, or family of mine that stepped foot on American soil from the Benin Kingdom to find themselves shackled into slavery. I wonder if I still look like them or if one of them or more fought for their freedom, maybe one of my relatives actually met Harriet Tubman in the underground railroad, or stood up for what they believed in. I'd want to meet the first preacher in my family and hear them share the story of how they met Jesus. It would've been incredible to sit in the same auditorium and see the iconic performances at the "Motown review", or even hear Ray Charles sing "What I'd say" for the first time in concert! It would be amazing to swing dance with some of the best dancers in the world, or listen to B.B. king play "The Thrill is Gone" in some old juke joint, or Johnny Taylor play some of my dad's favorite songs.

I think if I could go back in time, these are surely things I'd want to know or see, but I've come to this realization. I am where I am, I live where I live, I love what I love, I do what I do because God wanted me to be here, and be here now in this present day and age. There was purpose behind my birth and reason behind my time frame of life. Just like any man I want to live long life, but in the end I want to be remembered as a man who spoke about true freedom. True freedom I've received from salvation and this knowing Jesus as my Lord and savior.

Freedom from just being know as another black man in a broken America. Freedom in knowing that I live in a "free country" knowing that my freedom didn't come from ink penned to paper. It came from a Savior purposefully living a life that was sacrificially atoning, bringing about the most perfect reconciliation ever known to man. I love Jesus, He's captured my heart, He pursued me, He's worthy of my life, my praise, my song, my gifts, my worship. 

Salvation...liberation....freedom didn't come from man, but because of the only man that could actually give it. Jesus Christ.

So on this day of freedom, this week of remembrance of my American Independence, I remind myself of the one who gave that freedom. The one who gave that true freedom and I proclaim, "LET FREEDOM RING"! Let the bell of freedom be the clinging sound made to melody, sung with passion, lived out with unction, spoken with humility. Let that freedom ring from these lips that were formed for praise.

So I say it again, Let freedom Ring....not just because that song was stuck in my head, but because I've actually been freed, and there's a day coming when true freedom will be seen by all. That day no one knows except God Himself. 

I leave you with the words of one of the most riveting speeches to ever be spoken: 

".....knowing that we will be free one day. And I say to you today my friends, let freedom ring.

From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! 

Let Freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! 

Let Freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia! 

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee! 

Let Freedom ring from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. 

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last!
THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, WE'RE FREE AT LAST!""

Nothin' but love, 

Jimmy 

 


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