Our Quest for Faithful Presence

Dear St Luke’s,

Its nearly here!  Summer solstice is this coming Wednesday.  As a kid summer felt like freedom.  No school, no teachers, no assignments; day after day of playing with friends, riding bike, going camping, making smores around the fire, building forts…  Two months of freedom! 

In my limited experience freedom and joy feel like dance partners!

Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus was teaching in his childhood synagogue when he read a portion from the writings of Isaiah; “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, the blind will see, the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”  Freedom!

Almost every week in worship we are reminded of God’s work of deliverance.  From captivity to freedom, through the waters on to dry land, deliverance from oppression.  In Paul’s letter to the Jesus followers living in Galatia Paul reminded the people, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

God’s freedom is whole and for all.  Throughout the both the Hebrew and Greek Testaments we see God standing alongside the oppressed, seeking release for captives, jubilee for all while opposing oppressive systems, people, and ideas.  It is for freedom that Christ sets us free!

In this region of the world, and at this time of the year freedom takes center stage.  Canada and the USA both celebrate national freedom at the beginning of July.  Monday will be our third federal observance of Juneteenth… also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, or Freedom Day.  Freedom is in the air.

I think it’s a wise practice to collectively bring freedom to the forefront of our imaginations.  What is freedom?  Freedom from… what?  Freedom to… what?  If my freedom requires another’s enslavement is it the kind of freedom Christ is talking about?  If my oppression enables another’s freedom is that ministry?  How might we join God in God’s liberative mission?  What might it mean that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free?

I’m mindful that in the midst of all of this talk of freedom, that Tuesday is World Refugee Day.  Somewhere between 80-100 million people are currently refugees; forcible displaced from their homes… their best option is to flee all that they know to seek safety elsewhere. 

Try to imagine what would have to happen in your world, your family, and your life for you to leave behind your home, friends, extended family, most of your possessions, and to seek safely elsewhere.  Imagine the amalgamation of desperation, courage, and hope that might be at play.  Imagine how vulnerable or afraid you might feel.  How might it feel to approach an international boarder?  How might it feel when some sees you, has compassion for you, and joins you in some meaningful way?  

We are part of a faith tradition that is committed to providing sanctuary.  We as a congregation have a rich history helping others find “home.” I wonder what some of our next steps might be in joining God in God’s liberative mission?

Next Sunday – June 25th – we will be launching into the freedoms of summer with a BBQ/potluck after our worship gathering, which means this weekend is our final Sunday School and Community Forum of the season.  Sunday school and Community Forums will resume in the Fall, along with our love and Justice chorale, and many other activities within our faith community.

Please know that you are a treasure, there is no one quite like you, you are loved, you belong, and you are not alone. 

Peace, dwight