19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Heb 6:19-20 ESV
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 ESV
I recently had the opportunity to watch a special pre-screening of the new movie “Free Solo” featuring Alex Honnold. For those not familiar with climbing terminology free solo refers to climbing without ropes or gear of any kind. To some climbers this is true climbing in it’s purest most raw form. The movie chronicles Honnold’s 2017 free solo ascent of Free Rider, (VI, 5.13a, 35 pitches, 3300ft), in Yosemite National Park. This incredible feat cemented his place in history as the greatest free-soloist of all time.
While I personally am not a proponent of free-soloing because I typically see the activity as reckless and self-centered, I could not help but be completely in awe of Alex’s accomplishment. The movie did a great job not glorifying the discipline and dealing with the real implications and emotional burdens that choosing to climb rope-less brings. It also delved into Alex’s relationships and psyche in an effort to better understand what motivates him.
As a follower of Christ I can’t help but think of the spiritual implications of free-soloing. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus has gone before us as a forerunner and fixed an anchor for our souls. Christ himself tells us in the book of John that He can truly set us free. These deep truths mean that if we are in Christ we are never truly alone, and true freedom can only be experienced in relationship with Him. No matter what trials we face in this life Christ has us firmly and securely in his grasp, nothing can touch us, not even death if we are anchored into Him. To me that illusive Zen-like state of freedom and exhilaration that free-soloists speak of points to a need for a deeper lasting freedom from the bondage of sin and death. A freedom that can only be found in Christ. As you journey through this life may you know that you are never truly alone. May you daily experience the joy and freedom that comes from knowing Jesus.