In Delhi, one of the traditions that mark Independence Day celebrations is kite flying. The markets come alive with kites of all shapes, sizes and colours. The sky is dotted with kites being flown with some flyers joining in the healthy competition of cutting and taking over rival kites.
Growing up, I lived near Old Delhi and believe it or not, kite flying was an activity I was heavily involved in. Being extremely averse to sports in any form, this was a relatively easier group activity I was willing to participate in. We used to head up to the rooftop of the buildings and I would carefully roll out the ‘manja’ (string coated with powdered glass) for my friends, hold the kite at the distance and throw it up in the air in the direction of the wind.
Watching it soar above, tugging furiously at the ‘manja’ on a windy day was a thrilling experience. At times I even used to fly it when it was safely up in the air and my friends knew that I couldn’t possibly bring it down. (Yes, my childhood was traumatising in some ways, it’s only as an adult that I’ve become comfortable with my lack of sports abilities, but that’s another post for another day.)
The kite symbolises freedom. Soaring above, it reminds us that we are a free independent nation. I love my country even with all its blatant problems and I am grateful to be living in a free nation. We are free from foreign rule, free to elect our leaders and make decisions for ourselves. However, this doesn’t mean that we are free to do exactly as we please. We are not free to oppress, enslave, be corrupt, mismanage our resources, treat our citizens shamefully, disrespect people from different cultures and states and so on. We appreciate this freedom by being subject to our constitution, to our laws and governing authorities and hopefully work towards justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.
Even more than national freedom, the freedom that Christ provides is the most liberating I have experienced. My faith in Christ allows me to enjoy true freedom - I am free from shame, condemnation, judgement, bondage to sin, my past, selfishness, being insecure, feeling incomplete as a single and so much more. It frees me to be what I was created to be. Ultimately freedom is not doing as I please, but reveling in my true nature, being restored to be the human being I was created to be.
I am now free to love God and love others, to worship with a clean conscience, to be unselfish, forgiving, faithful, joyful, secure, content in my position in Christ and so much more. I know I poorly exhibit so much of this, but I look forward with hope to the day I will realise this freedom in its fullest potential.
Tim Keller puts this well,
“In many areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions. Those that fit with the reality of our nature and the world produce greater power and scope for our abilities and a deeper joy and fulfillment. If we only grow intellectually, vocationally, and physically through judicious constraints–why would it not also be true for spiritual and moral growth? Instead of insisting on freedom to create spiritual reality, shouldn’t we be seeking to discover it and disciplining ourselves to live according to it?”
The joy of flying kites is not in seeing it pull off the string and soar away into the sky but in the restrictions placed on it by the wind, the manoeuvring of the string, the hand movements of the skillful kite flyer. So when you look at a kite this Independence day or even at our flag, my hope is that you will think of the true freedom you have in Christ that liberates you, allows you to soar and truly live as you were created to live.
What do you think of the idea that in Christ alone we have true freedom? Have you experienced this in your life personally? If so, please share your experience below.
Photo Courtesy of A. Shefferman