Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thankful for Freedom, Charged to Use it

   It was a holy moment to stand alongside the Rev. Marty Barnes at the 11:00 a.m. worship service on Sunday and hear him recount his ministry as a chaplain with a special operations wing of the United States Air Force. For those of you in worship at 9:00 a.m. or away this past weekend, Captain Barnes was in worship with us for two Sundays as his unit was training at Fort Benning.
   I heard him share two words with us. He opened and closed his brief remarks with a deep sense of thanksgiving for being able to worship in a place that felt like home. He is a a United Methodist Elder from Oklahoma who serves as an extension of our denomination as a Chaplain to the USAF. He appreciated the warm welcome he received. 
   More than just a word of thanks, though, his words came with a charge. He spoke of freedom and shared with us a taste of the messages that he regularly offers to the airmen he serves alongside. He stated plainly that we have a duty to live lives worthy of the freedom that the airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and guardsmen are fighting and sacrificing to protect. He believes that the best way to live such a life is to use our freedoms
   I cannot help thinking how much this resonates with the Gospel. Jesus died for our sins: freeing us from captivity and slavery to sin and death. He did not die that we might squander life, still chained to old habits or passions, or that we might let our freedom sit idle only to waste away. We are to live fully and freely. I believe the next three weeks in worship, when we spend time around teachings from the Scriptures and our Methodist tradition, will connect with this message of grace offered with a purpose.
   May you live this day aware of the great sacrifices that have been made for you to live freely. Peace, Scott

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