Distinguishing Celebrations – American Freedom and Freedom In Christ

Okfbh476We tend to associate freedom with license. You may think a current license plate affords the driver of a vehicle free access anywhere. Yet, we all know there are certain restrictions and limitations when we consider access to private property. Without permission we would be trespassing.

Legal_documents When we encounter limitations to our freedom we engage legal parameters to a given area of  our lives. We move between feelings of appreciation and frustration. Some laws protect, others restrict. What to do when the law intended to protect becomes a burden, and oppressively so. Efforts to change laws become an option.

Tomorrow we will celebrate American Freedom on Independence Day. Few people would prefer even a benevolent dictatorship to a free republic. Our freedom extends to our speech with which we may criticize the very free republic in which we live. Now that is freedom. We who enjoy the free practice of our faith often skew the lines between our American freedom and the freedom found in Jesus, the Christ. Too often we fail to note where one ends and another begins. To do so may be injurious to both.

I have been reading with interest Bob Hyatt’s blog from Evergreen Community Church in Portland, Oregon, for sometime. Not only does he weigh in on a variety of subjects, he regularly offers "pastorhacks" to help with organizational issues peculiar to ministers. Recently Bob noted he was included in a USA Today article. You would be helped taking a moment to read it in light of our upcoming freedom celebrations. Here is some food for thought,

In the Sunday service nearest the Fourth of July, congregants
recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang patriotic songs. As the
pattern continued through the early months of the Iraq war, Hyatt could
hold his tongue no longer. At a pray-for-our-troops rally at the
megachurch, he took a turn at the microphone and cited the teachings of
Jesus in making the unpopular suggestion that the congregants also pray
for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people. He went on to write an
Internet article titled, "Profoundly Disturbed on the Fourth of July," which was not well-received at the church and led to his leaving its staff.

‘We were worshiping America’

Reflecting on those patriotic services, Hyatt wrote:
"We had taken a time that belonged to the worship of God and turned it
toward the appreciation of a country, a political system, a flag. We
said that we were worshiping God through the singing of those patriotic
songs, the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance and the rest, but in fact
we were worshiping America."

Read the article by clicking here.

Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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