This last Sunday morning, Bill and I were privileged to worship with some dear friends at Christ Church in Plano, TX; an Anglican church, it was a sweet reminder of my childhood, growing up in the Episcopal Church.
Worship was beautiful with the huge pipe organ and the choir's soprano voices resounding through the sunlit sanctuary. Because this week is the one year anniversary of my mother's passing, I wept through most of the service missing my momma and daddy.
Father David Roseberry's sermon titled, Living Without Parole struck a deep cord with me. Having spent some time in jail; more importantly having lived a great portion of my life imprisoned by addictions, this message was very close to my heart.
The Scripture text Fr. David chose was:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. - Romans 8:1Stating that this verse is the backbone of the entire Bible, the purpose of all Scripture and the reason God came to earth as Christ, Fr. David asks...
Do you have a now moment in your life?
A moment when your past is put behind you?I quickly jotted in my notes: Yes! December 26, 2004!
A time when your BC (Before Christ) became AD (Anno Domini- The Year of The Lord)?
Father David went on to remind us that after we've had that now moment, God isn't watching and waiting like a parole officer for us to make a mistake so He can punish us or lock us up for good.
Because He loved us so much God Himself allowed Christ, the Father's only son, to die, to pay our debt, to take all our punishment; so that we can live our life without having to be on parole.
We haven't been released based on a condition of our own behavior or merit. There's no fear of being returned to our prisons, whatever they may be.
Praise God! We've been set free!
But are we walking in the full freedom that has been given to us?
The most important statement I heard in Sunday's message: To the extent that you continue to carry burdens from your past, it is to that same extent that you are not free in Christ.
Take another look at the photo I chose for today's column.
What do you see?
Is the woman behind the prison bars or in front of them?
Do you know there are people behind bars who are more free than some of us who are allowed to walk on the street today?
Where are you standing?
Did you put yourself back in the prison God has set you free from?
Are you looking at the outside world through prison bars you've created for yourself?
Do you, like me, tend to pick up an old set of baggage and start dragging it along with you?
Let's give up our burdens.
Let's walk together in the freedom Christ has provided for us!
So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free. -John 8:36 AMP