WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS, THERE IS LIBERTY
Posted by: Apostle John Sobottka
We find ourselves a few days before Christmas 2020 and New Years' 2021. What a year it has been!
When we received our motto “Christ makes free” for 2020 on January 5th, we had no idea what the year would hold in store. As always, God’s children held enormous hope and huge expectation for the year ahead. Everything was moving along and developing mostly as planned and expected. Then, unexpected events occurred, which very quickly changed the world as we knew it. COVID-19 affected almost all aspects of life around the entire world, including the spiritual dynamic of Christ makes free. For sure, the fundamentals remained the same: God is free, Christ makes free, we too can be free. However, living with a global pandemic that removed many of our freedoms as we knew them certainly caused us to take stock of our lives, what we were doing, and how things would proceed. Many freedoms, which we had enjoyed, were suddenly taken away. Many things we did as matter of course were impossible. A total shift had taken place. Freedom, for many, was lost or drastically reduced. For us, the greater impact was no divine services, no Holy Communion, no congregational fellowship, no Sunday school, etc. It turned our world upside down. In these times it was often difficult to speak of freedom. Thanks to our heavenly Father, however, ways and means were developed so that we did not lose touch with our spiritual reality in the present, or for the future. We became convinced that even under the pandemic conditions freedom in Christ is indeed possible.
Extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures. The Lord helped! He continued to provide everything necessary for our salvation, through enhanced eChurch for example. The Holy Spirit’s activity continued and we truly realized that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” We are still being transformed by the Spirit of the Lord if we allow it. The pandemic did not stop this freedom! We came to realize that we truly can remain masters of our own destiny even though many others had lost hope, and the world around us was in chaos.
Now that we have returned to church there are still many challenges. Even these are continuously surmounted by our brothers and sisters who do much to enable churches to open for “live” divine services and for eChurch to continue. We do not stand by “having their freedom curtailed.” The deep joy and desire to celebrate Holy Communion are a rallying cry to return to the congregation and divine services. Some of you have not been so fortunate. How does Christ make free still apply to you? The Chief Apostle very recently used the word out of 1 Peter 5: 6–7. Christ delivers us from our cares. He even advises us to unburden these cares on Him, including our material and spiritual ones. In humility and with great resolve and effort on our part, we can do so. He is the greatest and knows us, our struggles, and our needs better than we do.
As we look to 2021, we will continue to battle to remain masters of our own destiny and continue to strive for the ultimate freedom—His kingdom and eternal fellowship together. Our God is faithful!