For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:1-15
I am in Bismark enjoying some free time before we begin many meetings and Niobrara Convocation this weekend. I am thrilled to be here and to share in the ministries of the Diocese and our Native leadership. I am always humbled when I am here, knowing how much is done on so little, and how everyone, from Bishop to local leaders, chose to serve one another and offer all they have to the glory of God and the care of the people. I always come away inspired and humbled, knowing that in this majestic place, we could be anxious and struggling, but instead I witness daily moments of humility and tender care.
The letter to the Galatians, encourages the new church to remain faithful in the face of many challenges. Freedom is our gift from God, but we must be aware daily of the discipline and humility by which we must live. The gift of freedom is fragile, and we can become bound when we let pride and selfishness constrict us. We are only truly free when we offer ourselves to the service of God and one another. God's real freedom comes when we offer ourselves for the care of the world.
Today, as we gather here in Bismark, may our precious freedom in Christ be evident in our humility and service. May all that we do be an offering to God and for the care of the people. There are many needs, and God has promised to be with us as we offer our gifts and lives for the care of the people. May everything we do this day reflect God's love and freedom.