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Unconfined

March 28, 2020

“But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Romans 8:9

I was reading a brief commentary on Romans 8:6-11 earlier this week. I’m not planning on drawing much from Paul’s letter during my sermon tomorrow, but I like to be immersed in each of the lectionary readings for any given Sunday. So it was that I stumbled across these words from Dr. Amy Lindeman Allen: “Life is neither conferred by flesh nor confined by it – it is the power of God within us.”

In different times, this sentence my not have jumped out at me, or it may have done so in a different way. Now, the word “confined” leaps off the page. That’s what we all are. Or is it?

The argument that Paul is making is that insofar as we set our minds on things of the flesh, we remain dead in sin. Note that Paul is not arguing that our bodies or other created things are bad per se. He is using “flesh” to describe our bondage to those things that draw us from God. It is a confining mindset.

Paul goes on to proclaim that “to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” This does not mean something so banal as cultivating a spiritual mindset. Paul concludes his argument not with an appeal to be more spiritual, but with the promise that Christ now lives in us. Whereas once we were confined, now we are free. Wherever we are, Christ is with and in us, and Christ is freedom.

Our bodies may be confined for now, but our lives are not. This means our separation from one another is real in one sense, but not in another. After all, if Christ is in me and Christ is in you, are we not together?

Practically speaking, this is why we don’t need to rush to reopen Grace, or any other church buildings, for corporate worship. Sure, I’d love to be gathered together physically on Easter Sunday. But freedom in Christ means that my desires are not of paramount importance. They may even be sinful, for coming back together to worship too soon could cause great harm to my neighbor. So for now I trust that I am free in Christ, and that you are, too. In Christ, we are together. The reality of this promise is what will make our physical reunion all the sweeter.

Don’t forget, the Church isn’t closed. We’re just living in community and for our communities in different ways. Keep the faith, for the Spirit of Christ is alive in you. Even in quarantine there is freedom in Christ.

Be well, friends. You are loved

God of freedom, thank you for making your home with us. As we live these days in confined quarters, remember that your love is present with us. Keep us connected in community, caring for one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Oh, and there are great, big storms coming our way today? Lord, have mercy. Stay safe, friends!

From → COVID-19

2 Comments
  1. Susan Hammon permalink

    Thank you, Pastor Dave, for your comforting words, your sharing of your own feelings and insights, and your leadership of our faith community. I am so grateful to be a part of Grace Church and to know that you are looking after us. Prayers and blessings to you for your continued health and welfare.

    • Thank you, Susan! It is good to stay connected however we can. You are in my prayers, too.

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