Singing the Song of Freedom

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by Christine Sunderland

Today, July 9, is my birthday, nine months after my bones took flesh, searched out and known by the Lord of Hosts.

Bursting into the world with my first breaths, five days after America’s Independence Day in 1947 (in Fresno, California), I left behind the comfortable creche of my mother’s womb. My mother, a graduate of Biblical Seminary in New York with a degree in Christian Education, claims that when I was born, she cried, “Another girl for the mission field!”

I suppose, in a way, the prophecy came true.

As David the shepherd boy sings in Psalm 139, I sing too. For the Lord searches me out and knows me. He knows my ups and downs, understands my thoughts before they are thought. He is about my path and about my bed, and has laid his hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me; I cannot attain it!

He knows me and he loves me. Such love gives us the freedom to love in return, for without free will, we cannot love. Love also births knowledge of the beloved. All of this we see in the God of Abraham and Isaac, the God who loves us so, the God of freedom.

Such freedom demands accountability and responsibility. We must account for what we make of this gift of choice that the Creator gave us from the moment we were formed in the womb, when we were fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous of all marvels. He saw us, day by day enfleshed, day by day written in his book of life.

For while the reins of life belong to God, it is you and I, who must choose our path through life. Our characters choose too, and their choices define them. They act and react and suffer the consequences. They are seen by the Lord of Hosts; every detail is recalled and recorded. This is the song of freedom, a song celebrating the creation of mankind.

And so as Christian storytellers we sing the song of freedom to our people. We laud heroes who are righteous though flawed, men and women who know the melody of beauty, goodness, and truth, when surrounded by a world that is ugly, evil, and false. As we sing, we carefully curate the history of mankind’s choices. We celebrate those who have gone before who sang the song of freedom, of beauty, of truth. For it is this tale of civilization in the West – Western Civilization – that enables freedom to sing this song of love.

How does the song of freedom go? It is a sweet and soaring melody that enlivens dead bones, glances light upon meadows, inhales aromas of roses. It is a tune that weaves into a chorus and a symphony, dancing with stars to the music of spheres.

This song of songs, this music of creation, was sung through the pages of The Fire Trail and Angel Mountain, my earlier novels (2016 and 2020) set in the Bay Area and dances through my novel-in-progress, The Music of the Mountain. Such hymnody creates a ladder bridging Earth and Heaven.

This song of songs, this song of freedom, is one of beauty, grace, and truth. Our many voices become one in harmony, linking flesh and spirit. Each person created in the image of God finds the notes that are meant for him alone, the melody that will join the great heavenly chorus.

Americans have been blessed beyond measure with freedom. But we have abused the gift in our desire to please ourselves. We have abused our freedoms with silent censorings of the Lord God who made us, who knew us when he formed us in the womb, who sings to us of the sanctity of all human life.

Christian storytellers remind our world that freedom without faith is fallen. Freedom without love is lust. Freedom without truth is tribal.

We are called to a great calling, to sing the song of Eternity woven into Time. We are missionaries singing amidst deadly dissonance and clashing cymbals, amidst war and rumors of war, amidst horrors beyond our worst nightmares, amidst demonic deeds scorching our world.

We sing the song of freedom to our world with our words, lighting the dark. As David sings, “The darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day; the darkness and light to thee are both alike.” (139:11)

And so I sing my thanksgiving to God for my own creation, for my time in the womb when my bones were allowed to be fashioned, for I was imperfect, written in his Book of Life.

Christine Sunderland has authored seven award-winning novels: Pilgrimage, set in Italy, Offerings, set in France, Inheritance, set in England, Hana-lani, set in Hawaii, The Magdalene Mystery, set in Rome and Provence (all Oaktara), The Fire Trail (eLectio), set at UC Berkeley, and Angel Mountain (Wipf and Stock), set on Mount Diablo, east of Berkeley. She serves as Managing Editor for the American Church Union ( and is a member of the Anglican Province of the King ( She is currently working on The Music of the Mountain, about life and death and life again. Visit Christine at (website and blog), Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Comments 3

  1. Thank you, Christine, for your inspiring post. I was especially struck by this sentence: “Christian storytellers remind our world that freedom without faith is fallen. Freedom without love is lust. Freedom without truth is tribal.”

    Many Blessings,


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