the view from the pew 7-1-17

God bless our native land!
Firm may she ever stand

 

Saturday, 5:45 pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Pastor Sattler presiding.

When appropriate, our church observes secular holidays throughout the calendar year. Come 4th of July weekend we celebrate those things we are free to do as a church where those in other countries might be denied basic religious liberties. We are allowed to worship in public, sing as we like, and help whom we may. With this freedom, however, comes the right of others to disagree with or denounce what Christians do. That’s better than having to hide from the authorities and being afraid to let His light shine. We believe that God’s love will overcome the evil of the world.

Pastor Sattler preached about four types of freedom: political, social, economic, and spiritual.

Political freedom is that which allows Americans to freely vote for who we want to guide us as a nation. Political parties vie for voters by explaining their platforms (the principals on which they stand), and using logic and reason or appealing to emotions to persuade citizens to vote for them. Social freedom says you are free to associate with who you wish, or belong to any club or group with whom you share common values. It allows you to meet as you like, to speak as you like and to protest as you like. Economic freedom allows you to make a living, or not make a living, as you wish. You may operate a restaurant, build aircraft, sell health products or be an artist and sell your goods. Sometimes when we speak of freedom we can tend to believe that there should be no limits to that freedom. Freedom without limits is anarchy. It means anything goes. Freedom needs limits for the good of all. These limits help us learn to live together as a nation. When one group has it’s limits decreased for economic or political reasons, other groups will demand the same treatment. Some groups have extra limits pressed upon them, this being justified as a punishment for past behavoir or policy.

Politics without limits is a dictatorship. One person or a ruling class make the rules for others. It is even likely that those who make rules for others don’t feel the rules need apply to them. On a lesser scale, politics without limits allows graft and corruption, voter fraud and even allow some groups to be disenfranchised (the state of being deprived of a right or privilege, especially the right to vote). Discrimination runs rampant and frequently sets neighbor upon neighbor as growing resentments feed anger between groups.

Social engagement without limits allows you tell ‘Fire!‘ in a crowded movie house, causing a stampede that will hurt others. It allows you to speak or write wrongly of someone, potentially causing damage, economically or in character to that person. It wipes away any promise of shame or dignity as pornography can proliferate unheeded causing massive emotional and physical damage to persons subjected to it as well as the people used to create it.

Economic freedom without limits allows a person to set gouging prices during a time of emergency. Shortly after the attacks on 9/11 many gasoline stations doubled or trebled their gas prices though there were no economic indicators which would demand such action. Having no limits allows industries to build their products without regard to safety. Airlines could serve on the cheap and deal with plane crashes merely as write-offs on their ledgers. Skyscrapers would be built with counterfeit materials making them dangerous to unsuspecting tenants.

Religious freedom comes to us through God in our founding documents, particularly The Declaration of Independence. Though scripture is not directly quoted, the idea of inalienable rights is found in the Bible. Freedom is a concept found frequently in the Old Testament, especially with the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. After 400 years of captivity and hard labor, God, through Moses, released His people from their pain. But because they didn’t follow the limits God set for them through The Ten Commandments, Israel found itself losing its way from God by being influenced by other cultures. Israelites found themselves exiled to Babylon, then freed 80 years later when they promised to do a better job following God. The leaders were so paranoid of being sent into exile again they added over 660 laws to The Ten Commandment to limit the ways Israelites could sin. All it did was make them sin more since there were more laws to break. By that time, the Romans had secured Palestine for their own and the Jews ended up being political exiles in their own homeland. By ignoring limits or adding unneeded limits the Jews found themselves in bondage time after time.

Religious freedom in the New Testament is found through Jesus the Christ. It is not a freedom of travel, justice, or economy but of the spirit. This allows any man or woman, slave or freeman of any color, any social or economic status, and any nation to become free of sin. I may not walk free in Siam but my soul is loosed to serve Him who once served me. By my freedom in Him I become a slave to Him and to my fellow human. These follow the first two, and most important Commandments, first, to love and serve the Lord and second, to love and serve my neighbor.

——————-

Our hymns were played on piano by the talented Paul G.. We sang “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”; “America the Beautiful“; “Faith of Our Fathers“; and ended with “God Bless Our Native Land”.

We confessed our sins to The Lord and were quickly reassured that He paid those sins off for us 2,000 years ago while nailed to His cross. We prayed for the Church, worldwide, that His grace would fall upon each and every person and with it a new life in Him. We prayed for members of Holy Cross, those ill, scared and at wit’s end. We uttered hope and safety for all who defend us, fight for us, either serving home and abroad. We sought safety and courage for those who care for us physically and mentally. We prayed The Lord’s Prayer, received a benediction (the blessing on us at the end the service). Because we had no Communion, we recited The Apostles Creed. We did have a responsive reading but because of a software glitch, the standard font projected on the screen became the ‘Wingdings’ font making the scripture impossible to read. Pastor read both parts to us.

 

To Thee aloud we cry,
God save the State! 

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