Happening Now Blog

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday message

I was sleep deprived after my neighbors celebrated Independence Day with fireworks well into the wee hours of July 5. You, too? Their antics make me wonder if they were really celebrating the national holiday. Looked to me like they were more interested in liberating Heineken or PBR from the bottle than in remembering the liberation of the American colonies from King George.

I'm not saying it's bad to celebrate America's independence from the tyrannical powers of eighteenth-century Europe. The United States of America kick-started a movement toward democracy that reshaped the world, mostly for the better. Regardless of whether my drunken neighbors were actually celebrating Independence Day instead of just having fun making noise, America's autonomy and the personal liberties it brings us certainly are worth celebrating.

It's just that I wish we would celebrate Christian liberty as enthusiastically (and publicly!) as folks do when they gather for their neighborhood bang-boom- sparkle after dark on July 4. Liberty was important to Jesus. He refused to bow to the tyranny of the Devil or of human rulers, living with a fierce independence that has inspired countless generations across the world since his resurrection proved the Crucified was right. St. Paul cherished his freedom in Christ: "For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." (Gal. 5:1).

Luther thought it was so important he wrote a book about it: "Christian Liberty." Written in 1520 as a manifesto of the cultural insurgency we call The Reformation, it is considered a classic of Christian spirituality. In "Christian Liberty" Luther states the paradox of freedom: "A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. / A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all." That's the irony of freedom in Christ. God gives us freedom to serve: serve God, serve life, serve those who most need help. It is a tremendous freedom we have in Christ — the power not to waste our lives but spend them working with others to build community that is wholesome, life-giving, long-lasting, and deeply satisfying. Every Sunday is (Christian) Independence Day. So let's celebrate the Lord's Day with all the revelry and fireworks that liberation in Christ deserves.

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Lessons for Sunday, July 10
Deuteronomy 30:9-14
Colossians 1:1-14
Luke 10:25-37

THIS WEEK

Wednesday 10:00 a   Bible Study

Thursday     6:00 p   Men's Night at Cruise In Country Diner

Friday          1:00 - 9:00 p   Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      9:30 - 11:30 a   SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 10:30 am   Worship services

Men's Night
July 7, Thursday
6:00 pm
Cruise In Country Diner
All men are invited to attend
No RSVP needed, just show up!

Mark your calendars
Sunday, July 17
Meet and greet the pastoral candidate
our call committee has selected between worship services beginning at 9:30 am.