By: Dr. Michael Gardner
As our nation and all of us prepare for the 241st celebration of Independence Day on July 4th, I am mindful of our national treasure which surely is freedom itself. No single word resonates with Americans quite like freedom. Our Independence Day will ring with songs of “freedom” on our lips and ringing in our ears. Political speeches from both parties will focus on the concept of “freedom” to reinforce their positions and curry favor with the electorate and populace.
Few words are so common while carrying so much weight. The word is also found throughout our Scriptures and Christian tradition. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Galatians 5:1) So freedom is not just an American theme, it also is a Christian value.
However, the meaning of freedom is sometimes confused in people's minds. True freedom is not being able to do whatever you want, regardless of how it affects others. Christ set us free for a life that is different than what politicians promise.
At the very heart of Christianity is the strange truth that real freedom is found only in surrendering our will to the will of God and a life of following Jesus. Knowing that might change our ideas.
I’ll be talking a little about that Sunday as I begin my sixth year as your Senior Pastor and as Rev. Nyhart begins her fifteenth year as our Associate Pastor. We are also blessed to have Rev. Debbie Hull and Rev. Leslie Van Blarcom serving on our clergy staff! Rob Johnston, Chair of our Committee on Staff-Parish Relations will be recognizing our clergy staff in worship this Sunday. Which gives me the chance to mention that we are also blessed with strong and capable lay leaders like Rob at Old Mission. This Sunday as we celebrate our national heritage with patriotic music and worship, we’ll look at the similarities in the creation of a nation based on freedom when America was born, and the beginnings of Christianity as the early Church expanded.
In keeping with that theme, we’ll begin our “Road Trip” series, focused on the cities of the early church. This Sunday we’ll consider the topic, “It All Started at Antioch,” from Acts 11:19-26. I hope to see you Sunday for the start of what promises to be an exciting series! Join us at for worship at 8:30, 9:45, or 11am!
“Freedom without equality is not freedom at all.” – Bishop Richard Allen
If you would like to revisit a past "Beyond Believing" article, please refer to the archive.