June 26, 2007

Looking Forward to July 1, 2007 -- 5th Sunday After Pentecost, Canada Day

The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
  • Galatians 5:13-25
  • Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 (VU p.791)
  • Luke 9:51-62

The Hymns are:

  • #382 Breathe on Me Breath of God
  • #356 Seek Ye First
  • #577 I’ve Got Peace Like a River
  • #646 We Are Marching (sung twice)

The sermon title is Freedom and Spiritual Fruit

Early Thoughts:THere is a bumper sticker (or perhaps a church sign) out there that reads God wants Spiritual Fruit, Not Religious Nuts. The slogan reminds us that we are called to let the spirit work and grown in and through us, not to be annoying about our faith.

In his letter to the Galatians (as in many of his letters) Paul talks about our freedom. Freedom, release from bondage is indeed one of the central themes (what Marcus Borg calls macro-stories) throughout Scripture. But Paul uses it a little differently here than many of us might today.

Many people in the here and now think freedom means we can do whatever we want. Our confining restraints have been removed and the road ahead is clear. SO freedom means we can drive however fast we want, or we can cut down any trees we want, or we can make as much money as possible and who cares who loses out. Biblical freedom is far different. Biblical freedom is not just freedom from but also freedom to. THe people who followed Moses into the desert were not just freed from slavery but they were freed into a new covenant relationship. SO it is for the freedom Paul talks about.

Paul calls us to be freed from those worldly things that enslave us (among them idolatry, envy, strife) and freed into a different type of slavery, one based on love for neighbour, one willingly taken on.

Near the end of this passage Paul talks about that spiritual fruit. He reminds us that when we live into the freedom of Christ the Spirit moves within us. And when the Spirit moves within us we are led to such things as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is where oure freedom leads. Not to a place where we have no restraints but rather to a place where we can choose to align our lives differently.

This Sunday is Canada Day, a day when we honour our history, a day when we celebrate our freedom. What a difference might it make if our citizenship was governed by the fruits of the spirit rather than by the nuttiness (religious and otherwise) of the rest of the world?

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