This Sunday and next we will be looking at how central freedom is to life in the Holy Spirit and the Way of Christ. There are all kinds of ways in which we are not free, and the scriptures consistently call us to liberate ourselves and everyone else. God wants and needs us to be free to follow the Spirit where it leads, which is often in a direction that we could not foresee and which goes against our limited rational and self-oriented perspective. God wants and needs our love to be unshackled so we can love as unconditionally and universally as the heart of Christ, loving God with everything we are and loving our neighbor as our very own self. God wants and needs us to be free from things like fear and the tyranny of shoulds and unnecessary rules as well as from oppressive governments and social norms and unjust law–free to love and free to use our gifts to serve in ways that give our lives ultimate meaning and purpose.
This week we will read from Psalm 16, Galatians 5:1-14, 6:15 and Luke 9:51-62. I will tell the children the story of the calling of the prophet Elisha from I Kings 19. We will sing a “greatest hits” selection of hymns, each one a favorite: Spirit of the Living God, Shall We Gather at the River (led by Randy Odell and Bridget Peters), Dear Lord and Father of Mankind and Just As I Am, Without One Plea. The Sermon Title this week is Freedom of the Spirit, and next week, on July 3rd, it will be The Spirit of Freedom.
Organist John Atwood will play pieces by Johann Pachelbel (including the beloved Canon in D), François Couperin and Edvard Grieg. Here are youtube videos of some of those pieces: