Happy 4th of July! This week my family and I have been spending some much-needed time on vacation. Thank you for allowing us to get away to rest, recover, and spend time together. This week we’ve enjoyed the beaches at Hilton Head, great food, and fun together.

Today, we celebrate the freedom we have as citizens of the United States of America. These freedoms were bought with a price—the lives of countless men and women who have worked, fought, and sacrificed their lives for the sake of others and for freedom. For generations, Americans have stood together to oppose the forces of evil and injustice that threaten our world.

Reflecting on our vacation and on July the 4th has brought to my mind Paul’s words from Galatians 5:1. There he writes:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Paul says, “It is for freedom”—for freedom’s sake—that we have been set free. That means that we who have been set free not only get to enjoy the fruits of liberty and freedom in Christ, but are also called to share the blessings of freedom with those around us. We are to work together so that others might know salvation through Jesus Christ. We are to serve our community so that it resembles God’s Kingdom and justice. We are to labor for the sake of others’ freedom.

Not only that, but having received freedom in Christ, we are called to remain in that freedom and not fall back into the sinful patterns and practices of our old lives. If you’ve been set free, continue to live in that freedom and don’t forsake the sacrifice by going back to old and broken ways of living.

So today, as you enjoy celebrating American Independence, remember to live in and celebrate the freedom you have in Christ, and share the gifts of mercy and grace that you have received.

Join us in worship this Sunday as we celebrate Holy Communion, Commission our Missionaries to the Dominican Republic, Uganda, and Tifton, and celebrate freedom. It will be a sweet time of worship to share together!

God bless,
Jonathan Smith
For Jesus. For People. For Community.