By Rev. Dr. Dawn Weaks
Pastor, Connection Christian Church
During this month in which we celebrate our freedom as a country, our congregation is studying the book of Galatians, which has freedom in Christ as its theme. Freedom in Christ is a different and greater freedom than our American freedom. Galatians celebrates this freedom found throughout Scripture. Moses called to tell Pharaoh “let my people go” in Exodus chapter 3; Jesus proclaims that he came to “proclaim release to the captives and let the oppressed go free” in Luke chapter 4.
God gives us a spiritual freedom no matter our government. God gives us freedom from sin and our past, from the keeping of cumbersome rituals of righteousness and the fear of not being good enough, and freedom from the fear of judgment and even from the fear of death.
The author of Galatians, the Apostle Paul, celebrates this freedom with the Galatians despite the fact that they are physically being ruled by the Roman empire. But throughout the oppression they experience, the church of Jesus Christ is still free in conscience and confidence in the Lord. Paul knows this first hand, as he himself spent at least four years imprisoned, yet still he was writing about freedom! He wants us to know that no matter our circumstances, we can still choose to love, to serve, and to hope. This is the freedom we have in Christ. We are given this freedom for mutual love and service to our neighbors.
Yet there are many people in our community, sometimes even you and me, who are not living freely. Galatians lists what could trip us up: hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, substance abuse, competition, stirring up conflict, selfishness, and more (Galatians 5:21-22). Sometimes we think of these as character flaws but the apostle Paul says they are the result of being ensnared, taken captive, when really, we are meant to be free. Can you imagine our community set more free to live a life of peace with one another? May it be so.
This month of July, let’s ask God to help us live a better story, a story of freedom truly appreciated and lived into for the sake of ourselves and our neighbors. May we all be more free!
Worship with us in-person Sundays @ 9am or @ 11am @ 4241 Tanglewood or on Facebook @odessaconnect