Congregational Church of the Chimes        
                                                      Our vision:
Walking together in Faith, Fellowship and Service...
                                     expressing hope and experiencing God's love.

Join us as we worship together Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

We invite you to join us this Sunday, October 30, 2016
  Senior Minister Reverend Rae Perteet preaching: Bear With One Another

Children's Message in worship with Nursery care and Sunday School available for all ages
Usher Team #2 ushering

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Gal 5:13

Serve One Another

I was able to place my shovel under the large cement column now visibly protruding from the excavated dirt around it.  This gave me leverage but I knew I would need some help.  “Elijah, I’ve got another one over here!” I called to one of the members on my team.  At 6’ 4”, it only took Elijah and I a relative few minutes to fully pry the remaining concrete the rest of the way and move it to the accumulating pile.  After which we paused to converse at just how we had both come to be digging up columns of cement on a balmy afternoon in Vladivostok, Russia.

Since it was my first summer after graduating from university and ready to take on the world or so I thought! I was acutely aware that I could have chosen almost any other way to spend the summer other than manually leveling dirt by hand with a team of 10 others for a youth playground in Russia.  However, I was there for the same reasons that Paul tried to impress upon early Christians in Galatians 5:13.  Paul writes, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”  (Galatians 5:13)

You see, the early Christians must have felt similar to how I did at the end of my university career. They must have felt a prodigious since of relief when they learned that they would no longer be judged and responsible for the nearly impossible task of keeping all 613 commandments found in the Torah.  The overwhelming freedom must have felt a little like heaven, being released from scholarly stud of the Talmud and the heavy burden of attempting to keep those commandments.  Paul writes to these early believers, letting them know that their freedoms and righteousness are no longer conditioned on how well they can keep all 613 laws. Paul instructs per Christ, that now their only commandment was to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, mind and spirit as well as to love their neighbor as themselves.

A truth that should resonate with all of us. Yes, they had graduated from the six hundred Mitzvah’s, but only to a higher commandment of love towards God and each other. The apostle Paul is essentially saying to them, since you now have the freedom to live as you choose, don’t allow that liberty to be a spiritual stumbling block.  Instead, remember that the privilege and release from constraint you have received through Christ should be used to serve others. Paul reminds early believers of their obligation to use a measure of the liberties they have enjoyed to liberate and serve others.

Everyday, each of us enjoy liberties that we sometimes take for granted. Having peace of mind, relative financial stability, a strong support system, etc, all help provide for the freedoms we often ignore.  This week, I’m asking you to consider ways in which you can use the rights afforded you by the grace of God as an opportunity to serve others.   No, you don’t have to go to Vadovotok, Russia or even leave your hometown.  It may be as simple as giving someone a ride or providing needed support for a project. It could be providing a liberating word of encouragement to uplift a captive soul. There are many ways to serve.  Would you consider finding an intentional, practical and purposeful way of spreading joy in the lives of others through an act of service this week? In this way, we are able to show our gratitude for the liberties that God's grace has afforded each of us. For as Christ reminds us, “Freely you have received; therefore freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

Remaining In His Light,

Rev. Rae

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