“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
— John 8:36
Not yet. Not yet.
I’m too consumed with little passions, small dislikes, tiny hungers — little things that confine me. Like a man in a little box, whose world is defined by a small cramped space, so do my tiny concerns close in on me, creating four — no, in fact six — walls that confine me, trap me, rob me of my baptismal grace.
Most of the time, I am no more free than a corpse, six feet underground.
And yet . . .
Ah, and yet I catch glimpses. I have had a taste.
There have been hammers hammered like a wrecking ball, sounding the end of this imprisonment. The day is surely coming when this body, this very body that is as much a part of who I am as is the spirit that animates it, this significant stuff that wraps around my bones and gives me my outward identity — this body will be loosed. This flesh that has only attempted to dance will be transformed into something more than dancing. It will, in fact, be as ephemeral and as tangible as the best of music, moving in time and out of time, ecstatic and clear, solid enough to move a building, mysterious enough to pass through walls.
I will be free.
Little things will no longer confine my body, mind, spirit.
I will be free.
As will you.
We will not be the same. Were I to see you in that perfect freedom, I would not recognize you. Not at first. I would not know you without all the confining little things that hide your true self. It would be the same if you saw me perfected. But we have a promise and we have an example and as we learn to know one another on that day, I have little doubt that we will rejoice with the God of our creation laughing and singing and rejoicing by our side.
What I have written does not do justice to my expectation, my hope. I look at the words and find them trivial next to what I have tasted.
The taste I have had makes me ache for the feast to come.
The times say, “Not yet.”
I strain at my little box and I know, not yet.
But the day is surely coming.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Central Texas native Neil Ellis Orts grew up on a farm on the Lee/Bastrop county line. He earned a bachelor’s degree in theater from Texas State University, a master’s of divinity from Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary arts from Columbia College Chicago. He has published fiction and arts writing, including the 2004 novel Hidden Gifts. He also makes short performance pieces and has presented them in Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta.