Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘freedom’

A Crippling Spirit


Sunday’s Sermon Notes
Based on Luke 13:10-17
Rev. Carol Shellenberger, guest minister

“We don’t do that here!” the Elder scolded.
“But I’ve got religion!” the vocal praiser replied.
Well, you didn’t get it here,” the Elder frowned.
“No, I guess not,” the rebuked man sighed.

Are we the Elder type who covers praise
With a snuffer of scorn and frowns?
Or have we “got religion” here
That celebrates the King of Crowns?

Jesus crowns the vocal spirit.
God rewards the spirit-loving and the free.
Traditions and laws have their place,
But they’re not to squelch God’s love in me!

Jesus told the disgruntled crowd –
The folks who objected to His healing touch –
That the Sabbath is holy, and so’s the act of healing.
Obey the laws, but regard the Lord’s example as much!

The condition of our heart and spirit counts more
Than the pious adherence to laws and tradition.
What matters most is the way we act in love
To follow Christ’s example, to improve another’s condition.

Lord, call forth in me the power of Your Spirit.
Help me lift up my neighbor and love with compassion.
May I find balance in love, law, and tradition –
Freeing myself and others to “Do that here” in Christ-like fashion.

After the sermon, my friend, Jim Groshong, and I presented some special music. We sang “How Great Thou Art” to the accompaniment of his guitar and my accordion. Ordinarily in our church, the response to special music is silent smiles and occasionally a group “Amen” (when invited by the pastor to vocalize). The congregation has been reminded on more than one occasion that clapping is not an appropriate response. “We don’t do that here!” because it is a worldly form of recognition to the performer(s) rather than a worshipful response that recognizes the gift as an expression for the glory of God.

Well, today’s sermon was delivered by a guest pastor. The congregation must have been listening to her message as carefully as I did! They took it to heart. When Jim and I finished singing, our Presbyterian congregation (sometimes known as the “Chosen Frozen”) burst into spontaneous applause. No one chastised them. No one said, “We don’t do that here!” Hallelujah – the Holy Spirit sang through us, touched the tear ducts of some, and moved others to applaud – to the Glory of the Lord. Wonders never cease!

Amen?

Amen!! 

Veteran’s Day


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Love one another, yes! Love especially our veterans – Yes!

It’s time to reflect on all those who served, and especially those who died, in the military. Because they served and many made the ultimate sacrifice, I have the freedom to live a life of comfort in safety today. I am saying a prayer of gratitude for all those who prevented my country from being a place like Syria where this week 11,000 men, women, and children fled across the border to Turkey. With only the clothes on their backs, they escaped the tyranny of an oppressive and unjust government – only to find themselves in a less than desirable camp-like setting. But they are alive. “Freedom is not free” is not a trite little saying on a bumper sticker. It is a reality. Isaiah 49:15-16 says “I will not forget you. I have engraved you on the palm of my hands.” The names of our veterans are engraved on my heart. God bless the memory of each one of them. May those who gave their lives for my freedom be living eternally at the right hand of God the Almighty, reaping the beautiful rewards of their bravery and sacrifice forever and ever. Amen? Amen!!

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