Pastor René Bogue
We’ve been hearing a lot about politics lately. One clear message that is repeated on both sides of the ideological aisle is: “vote!” In fact, we hear that word so much that it can become like the background music in a grocery store. Familiar, even sometimes pleasant, but easy to ignore.
It got me thinking this morning about the parallels between this right we have as citizens, and the freedom we have in Christ.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1 succinctly sums up the point Paul is making throughout the entire book. Freedom is a good thing. It was hard-won, sacrificed for, and precious. Don’t, he emphasizes, lose that gift.
But, equally important, don’t take that gift for granted. He continues in that same chapter to urge his Galatian brothers and sisters to use their freedom “to serve one another humbly in love.” It is indeed a gift, but an important, costly gift. One given to us from the depths of Love. One we should – must – cherish.
Free doesn’t mean without worth.
There are the plastic lids you find in the “free” box at a yard sale, the free prizes you get just for shopping, and trinkets, and totes (so many totes).
Then there are the gifts. The things made precious by our love for the giver, and often the great cost to them. Your grandmother’s mirror, your mother’s dishes, your beloved’s ring. Such a difference between a careless cast-off, and a dearly-held, carefully given gift.
Freedom in Jesus is a great gift.
And, like the hard-won privilege to vote as citizens, we should not take this freedom for granted. We can be circumspect, grateful, sober, and full of joy as we embrace what we’ve been given. And then use those gifts to act, to serve one another, and to show our love for God and man.
Pastor Chris White
The American church of today needs to learn a lesson from the churches of the Civil War era. Now 150+ years past, the conflict between the Blue and the Gray has softened around the edges a lot and we associate the ‘Stars and Bars’ more with the Dukes of Hazzard than the Confederacy. But at the time, there was nothing quaint or homely or laughable about it. It was not merely a war of political differences, it was truly a religious war in a 95% Protestant nation that led to fratricide en masse.. Both sides of the slavery issue had festered since the days of the Constitutional convention and long before the first shot was fired on Ft. Sumter, nearly every American church denomination had divided over the slave issue.
In the Christian debate over the issue, both sides agreed that you could find slavery justified in scripture (and surprisingly, the law of Moses did cite a lot of laws regarding slaves). The crux of the argument lay in whether the race-based chattel slavery of the South was anything akin to the slavery of the Bible. Northern Christians said no, Southern Christians said yes. The Black church of the day argued that Matthew 7:12 (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you), if taken seriously, really ends the discussion. But as we all know, the Civil War, though spiritual, was settled militarily and for the most part “right” was settled by “might”. All told, nearly 620,000 people lost their lives as a result of the war, more than any other in American history. With casualties that numerous, nearly every family in America would have been grieving for a lost son.
So what can the Christian Churches of today learn from this national tragedy?
religious then logically those who disagree with us are not on God’s side and
therefore, if our opponents are fellow Christians, we must break fellowship. This
is just where Satan wants us. This is not to say religion shouldn’t inform our
politics or efforts to reform the ills of society or create a more just society, but we
need to give real care that politics never informs our religion. Politics are restless,
opportunistic, contradictory, complex and only temporal. This should always
remind us as Christians to approach politics with a healthy dose of skepticism and
never as articles faith. Someone once said that he who marries the spirit of the age
(and politics is the embodiment of that spirit) will certainly find themselves a
widow very quickly.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.