Freedom is something I learned to enjoy and appreciate from the time I was a little girl growing up in my home town in Northeast Iowa. I remember my parents teaching my brothers and me about the special significance of holidays like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Veteran’s Day. These are days when we would honor and remember those who had gone before us, those brave young men & women who were willing to serve their country and even lay down their lives so that others would be able to enjoy the freedom of living out their dreams in years to come. It left an indelible mark on my growing up years.

As time has marched on, my understanding of freedom has been stretched, challenged and expanded in so many ways. I have come to appreciate the spiritual dimension of freedom as I have come to know another who willingly laid down his life for others, our Lord & our Savior Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who lived, died and rose again so that we might have life and have it abundantly, with no strings attached. This gift is for all people and it is a freedom like no other!

As we gather in worship this coming Sunday, June 30, we do so around the theme “Created to be Free.”

  • In the Old Testament book of Lamentations (3:22-33), we are reminded that in spite of the suffering we may face in life, there is one thing we can be sure of: we have been given the promise of God’s unfailing love and mercy - a gift not earned or deserved, but a gift freely given to us, and a gift which comes new to us each day.
  • Our psalmist (see Psalm 30), also speaks of God's help that will see us through the tough times. That beloved reminder of God’s help comes in verse 5 of this psalm, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” The psalmist discovered God’s help and relief in his own time of pain and offers a reminder of God’s comfort and hope for each of us. 
  • In our Gospel reading (Mark 5:21-43), two miracles take place. Jesus heals a sick woman who had suffered for twelve years with her illness and he raised a 12-year-old girl from death. In doing so, Jesus was able to free both of them, as well as their families, from their pain and suffering.

Perhaps as you anticipate gathering with your church family this coming weekend for worship, you can reflect on these questions:

  • As you were growing up, what freedoms did you most enjoy & what freedoms did you long for?
  • As you grew older and more freedoms were given to you, how did you respond?
  • How are you experiencing God’s gift of freedom today?
  • Are there things you want & long to be set free from today?
  • What do you believe you have been set free for?