our family's long camping trips through "the great 48 states"
we visited many of the places associated with our nation's history.
Marilyn's favorite place is Williamsburg where there has been created
a village similar
Another site that I particularly wanted to see was Plymouth Rock, said to be the spot where the Pilgrims first set foot on this new world. From primary school I had been enthralled with the story about these dedicated English refugees who sought religious liberty in a new world. This story was not only told in public school, but the idealistic vision of our Pilgrim Forefathers was also retold in Sunday School. The image that I received was that America was created for a higher calling and purpose as a light to the world, a kind of new experiment in creating a nation where individuals could follow God and build a new country dedicated to freedom from repressive state churches and the tyrannical rule of monarchs.
I had images of
Plymouth Rock being a huge object of religious and
In the main, America has seen itself as an experiment in religious freedom. We call ourselves, "One Nation Under God," "A New Israel" Our motto has been, "In God We Trust." We pride ourselves as being, "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." America at its best is a miracle; or we might say, a work of the Spirit.
However, we must
admit that not everyone who came to America ame as idealistic seekers
of religious liberty. Some came as merchants seeking cheap commodities
that could be shipped back to Europe for profit. Soldiers came to set
up outposts of their European nations. We spent some time last week
in Saint Augustine, Florida, the oldest city on the North American Continent.
A black eye on
our national history was our participation in the slave
Although these texts,
and today's lection from Galatians, are speaking about spiritual freedom
through Jesus Christ from Old Testament Law, there is a natural transition
of these principles to our day to day exercise of liberty. Through Christ
we are called to the high ideal of living unselfishly for the common
good. We are able to "stay free" (5:1) by respecting governmental
laws that protect the rights and liberty of all people. We are not free
to do as we please Those who insist on totally doing their own thing
run the risk of falling back into slavery to their sinful impulses and
obsessions. In our text Paul distinguishes between freedom to sin and
freedom to serve, "For you have been called to live in freedom--
not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one
another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command:
Love your neighbor as
Is it any wonder that we Americans are able to so easily amalgamate our religion with our ideals about our precious government? After all, these are the pangs of our birth, our life, and our hope for the world and for Christ's Kingdom.
a sermon synopsis
by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor