How Much Do You Want Freedom?

How Much Do You Want Freedom?

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

fccinside1It doesn’t exactly look like a place of Total Revolution. Total Transformation. Freedom. Yet it is.

It is completely and utterly white. Puritan. No stained glass windows. No ornate decorations. Just a simple Meetinghouse built in 1761.

And I am standing in the same place that faithful patriots assembled one Sunday afternoon in order to pray before they marched off to Lexington Massachusetts to fight against England for freedom! As I glance around, I am reminded of the great ‘cloud of witnesses’ who have gone before me.

fccinside3My home church is called the First Church of Christ because it was the first church gathered in Connecticut back in 1635. We still worship in the 18th century building and we are still embracing freedom. Are you?

Historian Lois Wieder explains that our forefathers and foremothers likened England’s persecution of her colonies to the Old Testament persecution of the Hebrews by the Egyptians; encouraged their people to enlist and support resistance efforts; and when war actually came, saw divine intervention in all colonial victories. They were serious about freedom!

freemilitia“The Sunday following the Lexington alarm was a busy one in Wethersfield. The Broad Street or First Company of the Sixth Militia regiment prepared to march to Boston. They attended the morning service as a body and sat in the gallery. Dr. Marsh preached and everyone in the church was in tears. Final preparations were made and in the afternoon families and friends gathered in front of the Meetinghouse where Dr. Marsh offered a prayer.”  (from “A Pleasant Land – A Goodly Heritage” by Lois M. Wieder, 1986)

During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington worshiped at my church three times. Sunday, May 20, 1781, was particularly notable because it was during this meeting Washington had with the Count de Rochambeau that the Battle of Yorktown was planned.freegw The following Tuesday the generals and their aides met in Old Wethersfield to hold what has been called ‘the most important conference of the war.’

This Fourth of July week, worshiping in the Meetinghouse was amazing, especially since the whole service was a tribute to our servicemen and women who fought in World War II 70 years ago!  I couldn’t help but wonder ‘Is this the pew where George Washington sat?’ My mind imagined that Sunday when so many of the parishioners were coming for spiritual sustenance before embarking on a journey from which they might never return. Were they excited? Were they exhilarated? They were going to fight for freedom! And they were willing to lay down their lives for freedom if that were required.

St. Paul wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery… You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5.1, 13)

freechainsHow much do you want freedom? And what are you willing to do to throw off chains that bind, so that you might embrace the freedom Christ offers — freedom from anything or anyone who enslaves you?

Paul reminds us yet again in that “Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Romans 6.14) Ahhhh, grace. The gift we don’t deserve and can never earn. And can never lose. The gift that sets us free. From performance; from shame; from paralyzing fear.

freeeagelflagDuring this month of July – Independence Day month – why not ask God to help free you from anything that is binding and preventing you from experiencing the life He wants to offer? Imagine yourself as a patriot – a soldier in the militia – coming to church to pray before you head out in battle to fight for freedom. Thus fortified, you and I can face anything.

Raise your Sword and sing heartily the words of Charles Wesley’s glorious hymn “And Can It Be” with me:

freewomansea“My chains fell off!

My heart was free!

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Amazing love!

How can it be

That Thou, My God, shouldst die for me?”

under the mercy, Cindy

fccaerialbydrone

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©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Website/Blog www.EncouragingWords.net
NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!

 

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5 Responses to How Much Do You Want Freedom?

  1. Betsy West says:

    This is really good!! So encouraging to hear of the faith of these men (and women!) I know you are on hiatus from Facebook but wanted to check on your mom. 💗💚💗

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. maggierowe says:

    So grateful for our many freedoms, including freedom of religion to the extent that we still experience it in our culture. Grateful for the times I’ve been able to worship with you at beautiful First Church!

  3. Al DeFilippo says:

    Thank you, Lucinda, for the post. The Charles Wesley hymn you quote from is actually the opening lines to my recently released novel about Francis Asbury. Impressive history to your church. If you interest, the website for my book series on Francis Asbury is http://www.francisasburytriptych.com. Enjoy the numerous articles on the movement started by Charles Wesley and his brother John. Again, thank you for the informative post.

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