Freedom

Grace and Peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

When we profess that we are free,

Nothing should hold us back from living into that freedom

To transform this world, now

Because of the New Covenant with God

Because of the One who Challenged Sin and Death

And Won,

Setting us FREE

Jesus Christ, Our Risen Savior and Lord

Amen.

 

Okay so let’s get this out of the way-

The Cubs lost

(wait for groans or laughter from congregation)

Right?

Especially since we have been immersed

in this Back to the Future chaos this past week

If you’re not familiar with the movie or have seen it,

All of the buzz on social media probably had you running to

Netflix and Hulu

So in the movie, on the date of Oct 21, 2015

The Cubs were supposed to win the World Series,

Other conversations about predictions of the movie surfaced,

With people asking where were our hover boards

And hover cars

(pause)

Who would have dreamed back then,

That we would even have these devices,

Our ipads, Tablets and Cell phones

They are able to tell us how to get from A to B

Remind us of our appointments and keeping us on task

Giving us the news as it happens

And access to our bank accounts

Recipes

And more importantly,

A feature we may have all forgotten

To actually stay connected with one another

We don’t have to wait til we get home,

We can call our loved ones wherever we are!

We can stay in touch and reconnect with extended family

Friends,

Classmates

Celebrating and sharing the joys that pepper our lives

(pause)

And in those moments of sadness, of frustration and even of fear

We are able to send our soothing words of comfort, or share in the sorrow

Or send out prayers of love,

Prayers of healing and hope

Prayers to remind one another that God still walks with us

Regardless of whether we know those affected,

Or because of their stories we hear and see throughout Creation

Through various mediums,

We want them to know that someone is praying for them,

With them

“God is our refuge and strength,

 a very present help in trouble

(pause)

Prayers are POWERFUL

So this should be proof

That regardless of how we reach out

We as people of faith

Can impact this world, this Creation

Through the spreading of the Gospel in every way!

We have the ability to do that, you know

We have the FREEDOM to do so.

We live in the midst of a society where we can actually live out that freedom

To worship,

To Share the Peace of God

Every day should fill us with this reminder,

Because there are some places in our global society

Where the Light and Love of God is repeatedly shut out

And shut down.

There are Christian Churches in North Korea,

Who are living out the Gospel,

Professing and proclaiming,

Even though underground and secret,

They never stop sharing the Good News,

To encourage their fellow brothers and sisters

That “If you continue in my word,

you are truly my disciples;

 and you will know the truth,

 and the truth will make you free.”

That Jesus Christ struggles with them,

And is with them,

As they try again and again,

To flee from the oppression and the hunger and the pain,

That they have been bound under.

(pause)

And we, beloved

We struggle with being Free

We struggle at professing and sharing our Faith with one another

With those across the fence,

Across the street

Why?

Are we so worried that we will fail?

That we stumble over the words?

Or is it that there is so much brokenness

So many people wearing masks

To cover their fragility

And vulnerability

That our words of Love, Mercy and Grace

Seem fabricated and forced

That when we are exposed ourselves,

That means the perception of perfection

Is shattered

(pause)

Are we worried the fact that we will fail?

That this voyage into new ministry or a new direction

Or trying new things to kick open the doors of our Church

Is too big of a risk that our souls can not bear?

But we proudly sing A Mighty Fortress is Our God,

Because this is Reformation Sunday-

But does this mean anything to us, as people of faith?

Is this a day where we are peering into the past of 1517

And nod our heads in thanks to Martin Luther

And say “Good for him!”

As bold and Public and direct as Luther was,

And correct me if I am wrong

Luther probably would be everywhere throughout Social Media

Because Luther understood FREEDOM

Luther understood that everything he had done,

Or would do,

Whether he succeed or made a hot mess of

WAS FORGIVEN

Because of what Jesus taught to those who were following Him,

Listening to Him

Learning from Him

(pause)

And it should be noted that Jesus in our Gospel text

Was speaking to the Jewish people-

Not simply to those who would call themselves Christians-

We forget that Jesus Christ came and taught and healed and loved

EVERYONE

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;

and you will know the truth,

 and the truth will make you free.”

He didn’t care if they were Jewish or Gentiles or Pagan or Muslim

Or struggling with His presence,

Or struggling with unbelief

Jesus Christ taught this idea, this belief of FREEDOM

Freedom from the constraints of the law

The law which threatened to separate communities from one another,

Because humankind resisted,

Could not fathom the Creator God’s call of a New Covenant

That God’s Love and Grace would be etched within us

This command of our Creator God of freedom for God’s children

 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

(pause)

We are FREE to share the Good News

We are FREE to give of ourselves

Our time and talents,

Our Blessings in Prayers to those who walk through these doors

We are FREE to shout and sing praises in this place

We are FREE to weep in the midst of the faithful

Because we are FREE to say:

I am weak, Lord

I need you, Lord

I am angry, Lord

I am lost, Lord

(pause)

This Reformation movement is continuous

We must be bold to tack upon doors where the Holy Spirit is being shut out

Where there is no FREEDOM to express the LOVE of the Risen Christ

Where there is no FREEDOM to be open to the presence of GOD

Where people are restricted from simply living and existing

Because of laws

Because of human fears

Because of the sins of this world

Which destroy the relationships

And the sacredness of this Life!

We are called to Spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ

That CHRIST DIED for ALL

ALL OF US!

THAT IS THE GOOD NEWS!

(pause)

The Good News is that each time we find ourselves bound to Sin

Because we are human,

We are not perfect

It is because of Jesus,

WE ARE FREE

Even as this world treats us,

Those of us who cling to Jesus’s cloak

To our Faith

As second, third or fourth class citizens

We stand tall because we serve a GOD who is MIGHTY

Who BREAKS CHAINS

Over and Over

With Forgiveness and Love and Mercy

And Grace!

We should never be afraid to share the Good News with Everyone!

We are FREE

Right here it says this in the Gospel of John

Right here it says this in Jeremiah

Right here in our hearts

In the Breath we draw (take in a deep, sacred breath from God,

And exhale every burden of sin you carry with you)

We know we are LOVED

And FREE

To impact this world

Bit by Bit

Block by Block

Person by Person

(pause)

This is Reformation Sunday

But every day is an opportunity

To actively live out this Reformation Movement

Its needed, here and now

Because that covenant from God

Has with us

Calls us to lay the foundation of the Gospel wherever we walk

Wherever we go,

Face to Face,

Or virtually.

Thanks Be to God.

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