May 19, 2020

by Dr. Oliver Wagner, Senior Pastor

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Galatians 5:13
The more famous verse from Galatians that we often hear—especially on the weekend closest to Independence Day - is 5:1 which reads “For freedom Christ has set us free.” We must confess that we are quick to demand our freedoms and slow to accept our call to serve and responsibility. A lot of folks in these difficult days in our society are demanding their freedom from government intervention and regulation. “Don’t tread on me” they say. One commentator wrote “some people don’t want to be governed.”

We live in a free society with opportunities that are countless. The church affirms and gives thanks for that freedom which Christ has won for us and which governing authorities and laws protect. But the church doesn’t stop with freedom. We take the next step and appeal to each person to be responsible with their use of freedoms, choices and opportunities. That’s the part of our faith that few want to hear, but which the church proclaims nonetheless. Wouldn’t you love to go to a “Responsibility Rally”? I can picture those gathered raising signs that read “leave it better than you found it” and “love one another” or maybe “humility rocks.” Maybe you could make and bring your own sign reading “How can I serve you?” or “I refuse to indulge.” How odd and novel such a rally would be in our “freedom-focused” day!

Wouldn’t it be great if free people chose to use their freedoms not to serve the trinity of “me, myself and I” but one another? That’s the life Jesus demonstrated and the very one he calls us to live. To help us along, we have his loving Spirit to guide and inspire us. We also have the faith community so that we aren’t alone, but shaped and nurtured by service. The church has a timely and vital invitation for all the world to hear: Come, join us in in rallying for freedom wedded to responsibility, service, justice, peace, and love.
We join our hearts in song and prayer, O God. Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009