Dear friends, Grace and Peace to you in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  

By the time you read this message, our nation will have celebrated our Independence Day holiday. A day set aside to remember when our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, announcing that the thirteen American colonies were no longer under British rule. These colonies now saw themselves as free. Free from British rule and taxation. Free to work towards becoming the United States of America.  

Not only did this declaration announce that the colonies were free, the document even spoke to the freedom of those people who were living in these colonies that would go on to become the United States. Perhaps it’s most famous line: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  

Now, before I talk more about freedom, and get to the point I would like to make. We must acknowledge that the equality and freedom mentioned in the Declaration of Independence was not extended to everyone living in the colonies at the time. That equality and freedom would be (and still is) fought for as our nation continued/continues to evolve and to grow into a nation where all are truly free and equal.  

That said, we arrive at the responsibility that comes along with our freedom. The freedom we experience in our nation and more importantly, the freedom we experience in Christ. We are to use the freedom that we know to work towards the freedom of all. As we heard in our closing hymn in church on Independence Day: “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me, As he died to make men holy let us live to make men free, His truth is marching on…” (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory/Battle Hymn of the Republic)  

Having been set free by Christ, we are tasked with the responsibility to make sure that all are set free. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are set free FROM sin and death. And, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are set free FOR the love and service of our neighbor. We have been set free by Christ for a purpose, to see to the wellbeing and freedom of all. Let us use our freedom wisely.  

Your Sibling in Christ,

Pastor Robert