I love a good firework show, and the festivities that usually accompany a good 4th of July are my favorite kind. Food, sun, water, and games, it's a good day! With the celebration of independence just over the horizon for our country, 'freedom' will be talked about and celebrated.
As I have been reading through the book of Acts, the theme of freedom has struck me. In the story of the early church, there is much talk about people being set free in Christ. However, the reality is that at least part of this group was facing persecution. While part of the early church seems to be escaping it, (i.e. Peter and John never seem to be forced to leave Jerusalem), another group flees the city because of this persecution (Phillip and others).
Yet in the midst of this persecution that early Christ followers were going through, it did not seem to affect the way they speak about freedom in Christ. As the good news is preached in Jerusalem and surrounding areas, people are healed, demons are cast out and the followers of Jesus find the courage to continue to speak about God's love and what was done for them in Christ's death and resurrection.
The freedom early followers are talking about is a much greater freedom. It is a freedom from that which could hold us captive, freedom from the things that would destroy our lives, the sin that separates us and breaks us.
This week, we are grateful to live in a beautiful country, especially one that gives us the ability to worship freely. We are grateful for those that have sacrificed so that we could experience it. We are even more thankful for the freedom we have found in Christ!