Last night our church was transformed into a jazz lounge. It was an opportunity to enjoy (and for some of us, learn about) jazz and hear about true freedom.
The thing about jazz is that there is a lot of improvisation, which basically means that they are playing a song, but in the middle, the musicians have their own personal jamming session on stage. But as Con Campbell (saxophonist and Moore college lecturer) explained, you can’t just hit any notes you want. Improvisation means that you are free to play what you want, but within the parameters set out by the music. Otherwise, it just sounds rubbish.
This was a helpful illustration for humanity’s desire for freedom. We think that to be truly free, we need to be able to make up our own rules and throw off any rules that we are under, that is, to push God to the side. But in doing that, we make ourselves slaves, because like a train off its tracks, we are stuck, unable to be what we were created for: to be in relationship with God.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendents and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed…”
The people Jesus spoke to thought they were free, but in fact they were slaves. But Jesus provides true freedom in relationship with God because of his death on the cross and his taking and paying our penalty for our sin (pushing God aside).
The band played a song after the talk, which either gave people time to ponder what Con had just said, or to concentrate on the music, if they really like jazz. Let’s pray that the gospel produces fruit in those who heard it.