“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not allow anyone to put the yoke of slavery on you again.” (Galatians 5:1—EHV)
What is your favorite amendment to the Constitution of the United States? Okay, most of you probably don’t have a favorite amendment; but there are some that certainly stand out: The thirteenth amendment—abolishing slavery and the second amendment—the right to bear arms (which is certainly getting a lot of publicity over the last few years). But it’s hard to beat the first amendment—protecting, among other things, the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.
Freedom of religion is one of the principles that this country was founded on. Even before our Founding Fathers won our independence from Great Britain, people flocked to this land to escape religious persecution. Our own synod was formed, in part, as a result of German Lutherans escaping religious reform and persecution. In 1817 Frederick William III, King of Prussia, issued a series of decrees that combined the Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) churches throughout his kingdom to form one unified Protestant Church. For awhile Lutherans were able to stay separate from the Reformed churches, if they so desired. However, in 1822 the congregations were directed to use a newly formulated agenda for worship, which would have forced the Lutherans to compromise on the Word of God. This, and some other happenings meant that the Lutherans could no longer worship the Lord freely, according to their beliefs. As a result, many Lutherans fled to America, where they could worship the Lord how they deemed fit.
Freedom of Religion is most certainly a gift from the Lord—one that I think, here in America we take for granted because that is what we are accustomed to. However, this is something that residents in some other countries do not enjoy (not to mention at other periods in history). Here in America we are free to worship the Lord how we want, when we want. We are free to believe what the Bible says, and we are free to teach everything the Bible teaches and to practice our beliefs in a way that we deem fit. Again, this is a great gift from God, and one of the best things about this great country.
It also reminds me of what Paul says in our verse above, as he talks about the freedom Christ won for us by his perfect life and suffering on the cross. Christ has won for us freedom—freedom from sin, freedom from sin’s condemnation, and freedom from the Old Testament laws and regulations. Christ came and fulfilled the law for us and broke the oppression of the law. We don’t have to keep the law perfectly in order to be saved. For Christ has kept the law perfectly for us.
No longer are we tied to a particular day for worship or certain worship forms as the Old Testament believers were—now we are simply free to worship him. As New Testament Christians, God gives us the freedom to worship him when and how we deem fit. And here in America we are free to use our Christian freedom to worship the Lord for the freedom he has won for us. As we take time out of our busy lives to watch fireworks and remember the freedom the founding fathers won for us, let us give thanks to the Lord for the religious freedom we enjoy here in America; and even better, for the freedom from sin and it’s condemnation, won for us by Christ! And then, let us also make use of the freedom that we have and worship the Lord for all the gifts that he has freely given to us.
Pastor Andrew Frey
Summer Sunday Bible Study
We have started our new Summer family type Bible Study which is being held on all non-Communion Sundays this Summer. The study is entitled, “The ABC’s of Worship — Lutheran Customs and Practices.” Our next classes will be in July on July 14 and 21 starting around 9:00 am. The classes have been well attended and many good questions have been asked and answered. Even if you have missed the first lessons, you can still join us. If you would like one of the study booklets, please talk to one of the Pastors
Bible Information Class
Our next Adult Instruction Class will begin on Tuesday July 2 at 6:30 pm. If you or someone you know are interested, please speak to Pastor Gartner.
We are in great need of more ushers—especially for the late service on Sundays and on Monday evenings. We pray many of our men are willing to step up and use their time to help God’s people worship him. For more information, speak to any usher; to volunteer contact Kris Wilson or sign up on the sheet in the narthex.
Timber Rattler Game
Come and join fellow members for the Timber Rattler game on Saturday, August 3. Game starts at 6:35 pm. We have reserved 50 tickets behind home plate. After the game there will be a fireworks show, and the kids can run the bases. It is also Storybook Princess Night 2. Elsa, Anna, Jasmine, Rapunzel, and Snow White will be at the ballpark to say “hi” throughout the game. The first 500 princesses and princes age 12 and under receive a tiara. The cost is $9 per ticket if 20 tickets or more are sold. A sign-up sheet is on the counter in the entryway; the deadline to sign up is Monday, July 15.
The quarterly voters’ meeting will be held on July 23 at 7:00 pm. Please note: the quarterly meeting will be July 23, and not July 16 as stated in the July newsletter and calendar. At this meeting we will be voting on recommendations from the council concerning many changes to our by-laws. For the most part these are the same changes we discussed in April, although they have been amended slightly. There are copies of the proposed changes (as well as what our by-laws currently say) in the narthex at Church. We encourage everyone to look these over carefully. Although every congregational meeting is important, with the proposed changes to our by-laws and thus altering some structure of our congregation, this meeting is especially important. We strongly encourage all men ages 18 and over to attend.