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Pastor's Note: 06.19.2020

Christ has set us free for freedom.

Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again.

(Galatians 5:1)

Good Day Family,

The God who Frees

There are many forms of bondage. We might think of those who are in chains and behind bars. Physical bondage is easy to recognize. There’s evidence before our eyes that someone’s movement and decisions are restricted by an external force. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, bond by the dictates of Pharaoh and held for their labor in service of maintaining the financial prosperity of their captors. God used Moses to lead the children of Israel from shackles to the promised land.

That was a long journey. There were hiccups along the way. There were moments when their escape seemed uncertain and their safety unknown. Crossing the Red Sea had to be a perilous trip even with parted waters. Their movement through the desert took a long time. A trip that should have lasted about eighteen months at a steady pace took forty years to complete. That’s two generations. The generation that left captivity did not enter into the land that God promised.

Yet, they were still free...physically. Despite that, there was a part of them that longed for the comfort of certainty that their bond life offered them. The murmuring in the desert occurred despite the unrelenting provision of God. They never went hungry. Their lives were never in danger. They had everything they needed, and sometimes an unexpected blessing, and still they found reason to be dissatisfied with the direction that God had placed before them.

We’re living in a time of uncertainty. And, like the children of Israel, we get restless. We want this to end. We long for the certainty of our old lives even if returning to what we had before offers certain danger. It’s hard to follow when you haven’t been given a map and an established itinerary for the journey. Yet, we have a destination in mind if we hear the words found in Galatians.

For freedom, Christ has set us free. Freedom is its own reward. Today, many will celebrate Juneteenth—some for the first time. I believe I was in high school or maybe even college before I even heard of it, and my parents ensured that I knew the history of my forebearers. Juneteenth is the day we recognize that the news of the emancipation of enslaved Africans in America reached Galveston, TX, believed to be the last place to get the news. The Civil War had long been over, but it took time for the good news to travel.

In a couple of weeks, we will celebrate Independence Day, which recognizes the birth of this country and lifts up the ideals of liberty and justice for all. Ideals that we can all embrace even if the unfortunate history is that all too often those in power have placed limits on who was included in the “all.” But we can and should continue to celebrate the pursuit, because it is in the pursuit that we find our greatness. In the pursuit, we find hope and encouragement. In the pursuit, we keep moving closer.

I believe we are closer today than we have ever been. I know that many are discouraged because the demonstrations and protests may make us uncomfortable. There are those who are fighting the losing battle with all their might and causing real harm to individuals and communities. We have a level of political unrest and division not seen in generations.

But that happens when we confront evil with the truth. The truth will set us free. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. And, as the great civil rights movement leader you probably never heard of—Ella Baker, once said, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” The pursuit of liberty continues, but we can rest assured that Jesus Christ has secured the victory.

Be free, be well,

Pastor Cheryl

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