I love how the United Methodist Church moves pastors the first week of July. We arrive not knowing many people in the new community, and yet we get to celebrate one of the biggest outdoor events a community offers ... the Fourth of July fireworks show! What a great opportunity to meet and greet as many neighbors as we possibly can. I look forward to meeting many of you at the fireworks display at the Mozingo Lake 4th of July spectacular!
Of course, we know that celebrating the Fourth of July is to celebrate our freedom. We are blessed to live in a country that provides freedom in many ways. That is something that we should never take for granted. Maybe as we get closer to the Fourth you can begin to consider what freedoms you are thankful for.
The definition of freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or to think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. A synonym that comes from freedom is liberty.
As a pastor, I want to encourage us to celebrate freedom within the God-given boundaries that we have. God set up boundaries to keep us from overwhelming chaos. Might we be at liberty to live away from chaos and experience harmony and unity. I believe that is where real freedom will be found.
Early in his ministry, Jesus took up the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and he began to read (and teach), “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4)
Our ultimate freedom comes from Jesus. He is the one who teaches us to live in harmony and unity. As we are celebrating fireworks and summertime around our communities, let us be thankful to our God who has offered us freedom and helps us to lean into a connectional love, bringing hope into the brokenness, setting captives truly free.
Pastor at First United Methodist Church