Pastor’s Message July

Happy July 4th

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays. It comes in the summertime when it is usually nice and warm. There are parades and fireworks.  There are picnics and family gatherings.  For me it marks the middle of summer.  Soon I start preparing for next fall.  It is also a holiday where we celebrate our independence and the freedom that we too often take for granted.

This year is very different from other years.  Many things have been canceled because of Covid 19.  There won’t be a parade.  There won’t be food tents in the park.  This whole summer is very different from other summers.  Summerfest has been canceled.  The State Fair and many county fairs have been canceled.  They haven’t played any baseballs games yet.  They are planning on playing NBA playoffs in the summertime.  All these changes have been caused by a virus that we can’t even see, a virus that affects everyone differently. Some get seriously ill and have to be hospitalized, and some don’t even realize that they have it.

Covid 19 has given us a whole new vocabulary.  We hear about social distancing, where you are supposed to be 6 feet from other individuals. Flattening the curve speaks about the number of new cases that have been found. Self-quarantine is something we do when we are healthy, and not just when we are sick.  The R-naught, or R0, is a virus’s basic reproductive number – an epidemiologic metric used to describe the contagiousness of infectious agents. The incubation period is the time it takes for symptoms to appear after a person is infected. Covid 19 has changed our world for the near future, and maybe also for the distant future.

This summer is different for another reason.  The independence of our country has been shaken to the core.  The unrest and protests are happening all over our country.  Some have been peaceful protests.  Others have turned into an excuse  to steal and destroy. Some areas of our country have replaced law and order with unrest and anarchy.  Just look at what it happening in Seattle’s CHOP zone.  Democrats and Republicans in Washington D.C. can’t compromise on anything.

All of this is the result of sin. Sickness came into the world as a result of sin.  Before sin entered the world, sin and death didn’t exist. God created the world, and it was very good. Sin is the root of all cancers, heart disease and pandemics.  That doesn’t mean that it is a direct result of a specific sin. Just read the example of Mark 2:1-10. It is just the result of sin in general.

Sin is the cause of some of the rioting that has taken place.  In our country we certainly have the freedom to protest, but not to loot and destroy.  That is the result of sin.

In the midst of all the sickness and rioting there is one thing that hasn’t changed.  In Hebrews 13:8 we are told, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He is our Savior and our shield.  He is our protector and our great reward. He not only makes July 4th happy, but every day happy.  We have that because Jesus has made us free.  John 8:32-36  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Happy Independence Day!