Worship at Gloria Dei Saturdays 5:00pm, Sundays 9:00am and 10:30am

Freedom and Unity Found in Christ

Hello Gloria Dei,

One of Martin Luther’s wonderful and constant refrains is this: In Christ we are set free FROM sin, death, and the power of the devil; and in Christ we are set free FOR service to God and to one another.

Having received the gift of grace, most fully seen in the cross and resurrection of Jesus, you and I are forgiven and set free from the ultimate power of sin and death. Jesus has won the victory. Life wins.

But it gets even better. We have been set free with a purpose; to use our freedom to be workers and servants in the Kingdom of God. In other words, to live out Jesus’ call to “let our light shine” in service and love toward others.

I mention this each year, but it is worth the reminder. As our nation celebrates Memorial Day this weekend, let’s be sure to truly give thanks to God for those who have given their lives for this fine country and the freedoms that don’t always come easily. Find someone you know who has, or is, serving in any branch of the military and say thanks for serving in this way. We are grateful to God for them.

Give thanks, too, for those who have been instrumental in sharing the good news of Christ with us. Think of parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, relatives, friends, authors, who have made an impact on you and your faith. Give God thanks for them, too. And be sure to pray that God will continue to use you for the sake of good, for the sake of freedom, for the sake of sharing and living out the gospel in whatever ways you can.

I know we are living in challenging times. It seems that this great country of ours is becoming more and more divided: Divided on issues facing us; divided politically; divided even when it comes to faith in God. This certainly is not unique for our generation, but it does seem that the noise of division is getting louder and louder.

The Scriptural view of all of this is to remind us that, as Christians, our unity is found most fully in Jesus Christ. Even the early apostles like Peter and Paul had their disagreements on the best ways to move forward. However, they knew that ultimately, they were on the same team, and they let unity in Christ be one of their guiding principles.

At Gloria Dei we are filled with people who love the Lord. Does everyone have the same opinion regarding the politics or issues of the day? Of course not. No one should expect that. Are the issues of the day important? Yes they are. And we can learn from one another. Yet I believe that it would honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country, that we would do all we can to move toward a more civil conversation with others who see things
differently than you might or I might. As Christians we are called to treat one another with respect, dignity, compassion, understanding, grace, forgiveness, and above all, with love. This can happen both personally and nationally. Maybe we would all be better off spending at least as much time in Bible Study and reading Scripture as we do watching our favorite news outlets.

Jesus spent the last night before his death on the cross in prayer to God the Father. His central prayer on that night was for unity among his present and future followers. In other words, his prayer was, and is, for unity for you, for me, for the church on earth. We all have different backgrounds. We all have different experiences that have shaped us. Yet we all have hearts and minds which are compassionate and creative. We all strive to follow the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Indeed, we are set free with that purpose in mind.

So, let us honor not only those who have given their lives for the sake of our country, but even more so, let us honor Christ, the One who gave his life for the sake of the whole world. He prayed for unity. Remember that as a church our unity is found not in particular opinions about worldly things, but our unity is found in the reality that God loves us and has chosen each of us to be ambassadors and witnesses to love of Christ in our world. We are one in Christ. Following his lead, pray for unity in Christ each and every day.

May God bless you this Memorial Day weekend and always. See you in worship.

Pastor Tim

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