Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today I want to talk about something that took me forever to understand: Freedom. and I still don't fully understand it, but I believe I understand it better now then I ever did in the past.

See when I was younger and even when I was in college, and even when I was at my first Job as a pastor I struggled with the burden of perfection. I knew I wasn't perfect but I wanted to be. I was raised in a good evangelical church, I knew about entire Sanctification. But I didn't get the paradox of Freedom in Christ but also Being Perfect.

It is a paradox.Paul says, "it is by faith and not by works so no man can boast." Yet James Says, "faith without Works is dead" and Jesus said, "If you love me you will follow my commandments." It doesn't make sense, we are free but there are still laws. now growing up I heard all the explanations of how this paradox works itself out, I went to bible school, I have had multiple hours of theology classes. I participated in holy week, and went to camp meetings. Sanctification is a big deal to Wesleyans.

But it all came back to the actual living out of this idea which seemed to preach free but not free. and I was not perfect, In fact I didn't understand some thing that people pointed to as what a perfect person did and believed. In some ways I gave up the idea that could be perfect. Sometimes it felt that everyone else was perfect and had arrived be me.

when I came to Seminary I was so tired from trying to be a good example for the youth, seeing church as a job, and feeling that I could do little right that I decided that while at seminary I was going to not live under the rules and regulations I had given myself. For example I was going to take one week off from church every month. this was a big deal I was not allowed to miss church in college, and never did unless i was sick or the weather was really really really! bad. and even in high school I had rarely missed. but that one week a month helped me to breath, it wasn't something I had to do anymore.

The thing I didn't do was 'forsake' the gathering of believers. I was with other Christians all the time. and I met some Christians who had completely different views on things then me. where I had always thought that every Christians was a republican (for example) I met people who had real issues with that party. I found people who cared about things that were more important and less self centered then the way people dressed and talked. I had always known in my mind that perfection wasn't my job, and that freedom wasn't the ablity to do whatever I wanted. but somehow at Seminary when I desided not to care about the rules society had placed on my I really began to know that perfection wasn't my job, and that I could really be free.

Sure I still make mistakes but that is why i love being at a church that has an older liturgy. every week we say: Almighty God, Creator of all, you marvelously made us in your image; but we have corrupted ourselves and damaged your likeness by rejecting your love and hurting our neighbors. we have done wrong and neglected to do right. we are sincerely sorry and heartily  repent of our sins. cleanse us and forgive us by the sacrifice of your son; remake us and lead us by your spirit, the Comforter. we ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And then the priest reminds us all that we (himself included) have been forgiven by saying:

Almighty God have mercy on you forgive you all your sins though our lord Jesus Christ, Strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life Amen

Some times it is just good to say aloud, "I missed the mark again, either by something I did or something I left undone, in thought word or deed. and then to be reminded that God still forgives. it is why I need confession every Sunday, and to go to the Lord's table every week. that is how i am reminded that despite all my failings I am forgiven, I am free in Christ.

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