This weekend we celebrate our independence and freedom as citizens of the United States of America. For the vast majority of us what began as an accident of birth has become an integral part of who we are. We do not take our privilege and responsibility as citizens of United States lightly. At each Sunday worship experience we will begin with a time of REMEMBRANCE AND GRATITUDE!
At the same time we gather as brothers and sisters in the Lord’s family, members of the body of Christ, children of the same Heavenly Father and workers in the Kingdom of God. We are DUAL CITIZENS! We also are integrating into our worship a time of BEING ANOINTED WITH OIL AND SET APART as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Are you aware that Francis Scott Key was a dual citizen? He dared to love and serve both God and country. Francis Scott Key, the author of our national anthem, took seriously his responsibilities as a disciple of Jesus. What does it mean for you and mean to be a dual citizen?
I think first and foremost it means that we return to our identity as children. You might recall the time children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The adult disciples rebuked the people – quit interrupting and bothering Jesus – but Jesus lived according to a different value system. He said in no uncertain terms, ‘Let the children come to me! Don’t stop them! They are the sort the Kingdom of God belongs to!’ Jesus isn’t bothered by the fact that some of the children who are brought to him can’t talk properly, that some may be dirty and smelly, and that some will be up to mischief the moment they think nobody’s looking. Jesus simply loves and relishes the life of a child, bubbling up like water from a spring and refusing to be quenched. That’s what the kingdom of God is like – full of new and unpredictable life. Little children, trusting, eager, ready to be drawn into the dreams and imagination of Jesus, are just the sort of people the Kingdom of God is for.
So – if we can posture ourselves as children what does the Lord want to teach us? YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, SOUL, STRENGTH AND MIND AND YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF! This Sunday we gather around the Word that declares, LOVE IS NOT PROUD. The word translated “proud” comes from a Greek word meaning to “puff up” or “blow up.” To be puffed up is to have an inflated opinion of oneself. But AGAPE LOVE is not proud, to the contrary it builds up others. In pride we become objects of our own love; in humility we learn to love God and others!
May each of us continue grow in LOVE!
P.S. I ask for your prayers as this evening through Sunday I will be speaking at a Family Camp in Northern Minnesota. The theme is JESUS ONLY! Have a blessed 4th of July weekend and I will be praying for Central as you gather for worship!