Word Magazine September 1968 Page 3


A meditation by the Rt. Rev. Gibran Ramlaoui

St. George Church, Cleveland, Ohio

“I will not call you servants,” says Jesus, “you are my friends.”

St. Paul says: “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent His only begotten Son, that we might re­ceive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 3:4)

The divine adoption changes the relationship of the Christian with God; it is henceforth the relationship of the Christian with God; it is henceforth the relationship of a son with his father, and no longer that of a slave with his master.

The divine adoption already raises us infinitely far above the condition of a servant; it places us in a free state and in a certain equality with God.

Our freedom, in God’s sight, en­gages us in the heart of this world as the moving force which activates creatively every creation towards the ultimate end that is the establishing of God’s kingdom in this very world.

All the problems which we are fac­ing are the immediate consequence of our unbelief in man and his free­dom. Do we really believe in the oth­er? Do I accept the other? Do I rec­ognize his right, his dignity, his free­dom as a son of the same father who is mine also? Do I meet the chal­lenges that the other places in my way with the same satisfaction in which I welcome his love and com­passion? Unless I accept you, and you accept me, we are both below the hu­man level, below the level of truth and freedom. There is no truth with­out freedom; and there is no freedom in the vacuum; there is only a free man. And every man is free. There­fore, it is imperative for my freedom to believe in your freedom; without you I cannot exist. You are my awareness of my own existence; you are a source of joy for me because by and through you, I become myself. I love you.

If I accept you as you are, I am no longer a judge; rather I am a brother who loves you, loves you as Jesus loves me, with all my sins, in­firmities. and iniquities. Then my soul embraces your soul, and the flame of love will consume all your defaults and shortcomings, and pre­sent you to me as my beloved brother. This attitude is the consequence of my freedom which is as God’s — ac­tive and creative.

We are the sons of God; we are free: hence each and every one of us is another Christ. And if I am Christ and you are Christ, how could there be any negativism between us? If I believe that you are the image of my God, how could I eliminate you; how could I reject you; how could I ignore you; how could I cheat you, make you suffer, persecute you, hate you, condone your suffer­ings, and yet pretend that I believe in you as my brother who received the same divine adoption and the same divine freedom?

“If a man say ‘I love God.’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar.”

This world, however, does not cease to shake our faith in God and man. But, this same world that grinds man down with sufferings — this world that favors and promotes selfishness, egotism, and injustice — this world that derides justice is the very condemnation of us as Chris­tians. Misery, injustice, disrespect for the other and his freedom, indiffer­ence before the suffering of the inno­cent, condoning inhuman actions —

all these things are but living wit­nesses that we have betrayed our son-ship to God and our freedom in Jesus Christ.

There is no acceptable solution for man’s problems unless it preserves his freedom as son of God. And no faith in God is true unless it be also in man.

We are equal to Jesus in sonship, freedom, and responsibility. Only a free man can — and must — respond by assuming the implications and consequences of his being free. We as Christians are responsible, with God, for the world. But saying it is one thing, and accepting it responsibly is another. Christian values and ideals fall into a dormant state until I, the free man, accept them with conviction and commence to imple­ment and live them. My acceptance of Christ, only, makes me a Chris­tian. And my being Christian means that I and God are equally respon­sible for the conditions of the world. God certainly fulfills His part; am I fulfilling mine?