Sharing with Steve
I have been reading a lot in the news lately about freedom. July 4th is right around the corner. One tenant that runs throughout American history is freedom. “Freedom” also figures prominently in scripture. The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt but God, with Moses as His point-man, led the people out of Egypt to the Promised Land. The Jewish nation was in captivity to Babylon and Persia for 70 years and, again, God led them back to the Promised Land using Nehemiah, Erza, and others. The idea of “freedom” changed in the New Testament. The Jewish people were again conquered, this time by the Romans. They wanted and expected a Messiah to be raised up to restore their freedom. This time God answered in a different way. He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus brought freedom, but not from a foreign government, but from sin. The people had a difficult time understanding this.
I believe that this struggle continues today. We get frustrated with any rule, guideline, or regulation that we think infringes on our “freedom.” We want to assert our rights and practice our freedoms. “No one has the right to infringe on my freedom.” As Christians we have to look at this in another way. We have been set free. Romans 8:2: because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Now here is the contradiction. We have been set free to be slaves. Romans 6:2: and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. So where does that leave us? How can one be free and a slave at the same time? When we become slaves of righteousness our desire is to always do the right thing by Jesus Christ and the other person. We cannot use our freedom in Christ to lead others astray or cause our weaker brother to stumble. We cannot use our freedom in Christ to assert our rights. Paul wrote to Galatians, Galatians 5:13: For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.
The greatest freedom that I have is that I am a child of God. I have been saved by Jesus Christ. That trumps any freedom that I have that has been won by men. I can still appreciate that freedom and celebrate it, but the freedom that I have in Christ is greater. My earthly freedom affords me some advantages while I live on this earth, but the freedom I have in Christ is eternal. Just as Jesus Christ left the perfect freedom of heaven and became a servant I must follow in His footsteps. I must show my brothers and sisters in Christ, my community, and the world that my priority is serving Christ and not insisting on my “freedom.”
Zoom in with Zack
I can’t believe that it is July already. I feel like I still barely have met most of you and yet Sunday service feels like coming home. There is something about the community of the church that transcends all traditional boundaries to make us one. I remember when I first began to serve in ministry. I was called to be senior minister of a small church in upstate New York at 22 years old. I recall one day walking into service, looking at the people around me, and just being amazed that there could be anything that would draw this group of people into one room together. We didn’t just meet together, but we even liked one another. Better than that we loved one another and were a family. I cannot picture another setting where I would say that a 65-year-old woman was one of my best friends. She would be at our house for dinner, go out with us just to spend time together, and we would be the last ones out of the building every Sunday and Wednesday. Where else could this ever happen?
This is the beauty of the church. We have been told that blood is thicker than water, but in the church, I have found it to be the opposite. It is in the waters of baptism that a true family is formed. God designed us to be radically different. Our skin, our politics, age, interests, skills, professions. . . We could not be any more different from one another. God created diversity. He called Abraham to be a blessing to the whole world and bring them together into one body. Israel left Egypt not as a distinct racial group or having a shared heritage, but as a mixed multitude from the nations. The prophets spoke to Israel and told them that he would bring their enemies into the fold. That they would become one and that all would one day be the people of God. The early church broke all national, racial, gender, and religious divides in becoming the body of Christ. Ephesian 2:13-18 tells us that those who were far away have been brought near and the all dividing walls that once separated us have been overcome by the blood of Christ. We are now drawn together by a new peace and unity.
The church is a beautiful place where we find relationships with those we would never have interaction with outside of this place. We are no longer foreigners and strangers but brothers and sisters. For this reason, among many others, returning to a physical church gathering was a great joy. We may not have met, and we may not know one another well, but we are family and it is incredible to worship together. I look forward to getting to know you all better each Sunday as we continue to gather in person for worship. Stay healthy and wash your hands!
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Meadowbrook is following necessary safety precautions.
We are putting these steps in place in order to enable as much of the Meadowbrook family as possible to come together for worship, and to be in compliance with the current guidelines from health and government authorities.
Masks: All who are physically able are requested to wear a mask. Masks are available at the entrance if you need one.
Entering: Please do not gather in the parking lots or in the foyer before and after the service. Please enter by the main church doors and go directly to a pew. As you enter, hand sanitizer is available at the door.
Seating: Pick up a pool noodle in the foyer and place it on the pew next to you/your group to assure safe distance from others. Those living in the same household may sit together without distancing. However, all others are asked to remain 6′ apart. Only every other pew will be used.
Cleaning: The church and restrooms will be sanitized before and after each service.
Communion: Please pick up the combination bread/juice cup in the foyer when you enter and take it in with you.
Dismissal: Social distancing also applies with dismissal. We ask everyone to remain in their seat until dismissed. You will be given directions as to which of the multiple exists to use when you leave. If you wish to socialize after the service, please do so outside and maintain the 6’ social distancing guidelines. Do not meet under the portico where social distancing would be difficult to maintain.
See the video of a walk-through portraying the Covid precautions being taken on our YouTube channel by clicking on the YouTube icon in the upper right hand corner of the www.mccrochester.org website home page.
Did you know that an organization exists whose main goal is to promote and to improve awareness of other Christian missions? The International Conference on Missions, or ICOM, was founded in 1948 as the National Missions Convention for Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. Since that time, according to theicom.org, their mission has been “to Encourage, Equip and Enlist workers for the Harvest.”
ICOM works year-round to assist global missions, making connections between international missionaries and churches and individuals at home. Each year, they gather in November for their annual conference. This year’s event will be in Indianapolis November 19-22 with the theme, “The Cross Before Me.” Exhibitors and participants in the conference include many of the missions we support at Meadowbrook, including Asia Christian Services (ACS), International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES), Niños de Mexico, and TCM, to name a few. The 2019 conference was attended by more than 8500 individuals representing 40 countries. During that conference, 42 people enlisted to serve in Christian ministry.
ICOM encourages attendance at their conference by any members of the church family who would like to know more about international missions and/or those who would like to support and encourage missionaries in the field. For further information, look for the ICOM poster on the bulletin board in the church lobby or visit www.theicom.org.
John Ciuba IV – July 8
Stefanie Kapusta – July 9
Harry & Kaye Thompson (Ann.) – July 12
Tim Howell – July 16
Carol Howell – July 16
Hector Urteaga – July 18
Ken Small – July 19
Sandra Krugh – July 21
Mike & Sue Rose (Ann.) – July 21
Mike Rose – July 22
Brenda Cox – July 22
Harry Thompson – July 24
Samantha Kapusta – July 25
Eunice Salminen – July 27
Marian Murphy – July 2