Hello SPV, Happy Independence Day!
It seems only fitting that we celebrate our freedom from that mean ‘ol British Empire by stuffing our faces with food & blowing things up! Lol, seriously though, it is a good thing to stop & give thanks for where we live, what we especially love about this place called America, and what we ultimately want it to be/look like moving forward.
Freedom is a mega theme throughout the scriptures. The Exodus comes to mind, obviously, but freedom is consistently mentioned in the OT & is all over the NT as well. Paul writes this to the saints in Galatia: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery...You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Gal. 5:1, 13
A few things jump out at me:
1) We were made to be free, it’s in our very DNA which is why things like slavery, heavy-handed or manipulative forms of faith/religion, oppressive or abusive relationships, or totalitarian systems of government are such an affront to God & should be resisted.
2) God in Christ Jesus has worked & continues to work for & toward our freedom. As much as I hate various forms of oppression & bondage, it’s considerably more heartbreaking when Jesus/Christianity is used to promote fear, control, & oppression rather than true freedom.
3) The heart of freedom is not meant to be a full-on license to do whatever you/we want. True freedom should flow out of love, humility, & service. That is true of us as individuals, the St. Pete Vineyard, the City of St. Pete, or the United States of America. May we never use this beautiful gift of freedom to invoke fear & oppress people but may the freedom we have in Christ actually look like Jesus in how we treat each other, worship, serve, & even in how we govern.
May you continue to walk in true freedom. Much love, Chris.