Breathing in, I am free.

Breathing out, I pour out love and grace.

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The people who know the celebratory shout are truly happy! They walk in the light of your presence, Lord! They rejoice in your name all day long and are uplifted by your righteousness because you are the splendor of their strength. By your favor you make us strong because our shield is the Lord’s own; our king belongs to the holy one of Israel!

Psalm 89:15-18

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Ahmed Kathrada spent 26 years wrongfully imprisoned on Robben Island, serving the same treason sentence as Nelson Mandela for fighting the bigotry of apartheid in South Africa. In the end, the difference between his freedom and imprisonment, Kathrada said, had nothing to do with walls or bars, but instead with his decision to let go of hatred, anger, and revenge — his true chains.

Is it possible for a free person to be chained and a captive person to be liberated? Perhaps real freedom only comes to those who are ready to receive it, who recognize the sound of their release. The joy of freedom, the psalmist says, comes to those who know the “celebratory shout” when it resounds!

The celebratory shout has announced our great freedom from harsh rules, hatred, and fear. God is nothing less than unbounded love and grace, and we are free to live unrestricted and love recklessly, bars or not. The celebratory shout is ringing in you, through you, and all around you — have you heard the wonderful sound?

Blake Tommey

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God without boundaries, I’m listening to the sweet sound of your celebratory shout telling me I’m free. You have released me from the judgment and condemnation that stifles my soul and my goodness. Create in me a life that truly knows it. Be the liberation that lives in me. Move me to be completely reckless and unhinged with my love and mercy. Amen.

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I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.

from “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan, 1967

Blake Tommey

Blake Tommey is a minister and writer living in Charlottesville, Virginia. Alongside his wife Lesley-Ann, who will begin serving as CBF field personnel in New York City in October, Blake continues to live out a calling to seek wholeness for people, through music, writing and ministry in the church.

How Great Thou Art

Clay Mottley

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