Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Greetings in the Name of the One Who Gives Freedom – Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!
I remember the moments when the walls of our parsonage in Swansboro rattled as the big guns aboard Camp LeJeune sounded their call. I remember the officers and enlisted personnel who were members of Swansboro United Methodist Church reminding me that was “the sound of freedom” – and to an extent they were right. The sacrifice of our military personnel across over two centuries of our country’s history have provided us with the ability to gather to worship in complete freedom. As we come to moments of national celebration like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, we do well to pause and give thanks to those who provided this freedom.
But Christians have gathered to worship for over two-thousand years – sometimes in the open light of day and other times underground in the darkness. Each time they gathered to worship they gathered in freedom. Why? Because the author of our freedom ultimately is Jesus Christ. Jesus said it this way, “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Across the world there have been and are movements that tried to tie together the freedom we find in Christ various political movements that promised freedom. Each movement provided a bit of the truth about our freedom, but ultimately each fell short of providing full freedom because they lacked loyalty to Jesus – the author of our salvation and the source of our freedom. I invite you this Fourth of July to remember the sacrifice of those who defend our ability to gather freely in worship. I also invite you to listen for the sounds of the nails being hammered into a cross through the hands and feet of the One who is our source of freedom. That sound may not rattle the walls of your house, but that ringing is the true “sound of freedom.”
This summer brings opportunities to gather for a baseball game on July 12th to engage in fellowship together with our church. We also are working to pull together our education space as we provide several opportunities for our community to be introduced to our Queen Street Academy after-school program. We also need your help on some Wednesdays as we continue working to clean and paint other parts of our education building. Join us for a day of work and fellowship.
I close with a reminder that many in our community are experiencing economic shortfalls because of the recent economic downturn. If you are able to make a financial gift to assist others in their season of shortfall you can make your checks payable to Queen Street Church and designate it for “family support.”
I thank each of you for how you use your freedom to serve our Lord in this community and within our church. See you on Sunday!
Grace and Peace, Allen