We look forward to worshiping together this Sunday morning at 9:30. Click here to view our live stream.
If you’d like to follow along with the order of service, click here for the bulletin.
To join us in singing, find the hymn texts on our music sheet.
We wish you a blessed and restful Sabbath!
This weekend will be characterized by great celebrations of our independence as a nation and of the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this country. There will likely be fireworks, family gatherings, grilled meat and watermelon slices, and red, white & blue everywhere! With good food and fun, we will commemorate that, as Americans, we can basically go where we want, consume what we like, do what we love, and pursue relationships with people of our choosing. Our founding documents assure us the opportunities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Along with our other rights, we are free to worship and practice faith as we feel called—thanks be to God.
Therefore, this weekend is also a great opportunity for us to reflect on the unique freedom that is ours in Christ. Our old friend Martin Luther wrote a treatise way back in 1520 called On Christian Liberty, or The Freedom of a Christian (depending on who is doing the translating). The most quoted line of this paper is this:
A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.
What could this perfectly paradoxical pair of statements mean? Luther helps to resolve the contradiction by pointing to Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 9:19—“For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them”—and in Romans 13:8—“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” We are freed in Christ; however, Luther continues, “Love by its very nature is always ready to serve and be subject to him who is loved.” Jesus is the perfect example, then, as the embodiment of God’s love, who was willing to subject himself to humiliation, pain and death, all of the sake of his beloved (that’s us!).
This week, it’s certainly worth taking a moment to recall all that we are free from. As citizens we are free from a distant monarch and taxation without representation, among many other things. As Christians, we are free from the power of sin and death, and free from struggling each day to justify ourselves in God’s eyes, because in baptism Christ clothes us in his own righteousness.
But now we must wonder what we are free for. The gift of freedom is not for the purpose of satisfying the flesh, Luther warns. Rather, we are free to simply act in love, with a clear conscience, living to freely serve in Jesus’ name. We are freed from all selfish concerns and freed for love and service to our neighbors. This particular freedom is a gift and a challenge, but also a source of profound joy and a way of life that makes this world look just a little bit more like the Kingdom of God.
Wishing you a safe and happy 4th of July. We look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday morning at 9:30 am. Join us in person, over the radio, or on-line.
Be safe, and God bless.
Gather in Faith – Grow through Grace – Share the Good News of Jesus Christ!