As I begin to write this article on the 17th anniversary of 9/11, there is a merging of several events that cause me to focus my thoughts on the essence and embodiment of freedom.
This past Sunday our church celebrated an annual gathering at City Beach for a celebration of baptisms and picnic food, fun and fellowship. While there, I took note again of the replica of the Statue of Liberty at the end of the pier. Remembering that it was only two days until 9/11, I thanked God again that the attacks on our nation that day did not accomplish what the terrorists had hoped, and that we still have the freedom to gather at a public setting like City Beach, and celebrate the essence and source of that freedom — Jesus Christ!
Another “freedom event” we will be a part of begins the evening you are reading this. On Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15, the Inland Northwest Freedom Fest will be celebrated out in the “Barn Again” across from the post office in Cocolalla. Featuring a Christian country concert tonight from 5-9 p.m. and a full day of excellent speakers and other fun events from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, this promises to be an inspiring and informative time for renewal of the freedoms we have enjoyed as a nation! (Go to inlandnwfreedomfest.com for more information )
The fourth “freedom” event that merges with the others brings another dimension of freedom to the forefront. Also today as you read this, the movie “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is premiering around the country. This movie produced by Pureflix is a “spiritual sequel” to the original “Unbroken” produced by Universal Studios in 2014 — the moving and inspiring true story of Olympic runner and Japanese POW camp survivor, Louis Zamperini. This Pureflix sequel picks up where the original movie left off, and tells “the rest of the story” — the true freedom that Zamperini was only able to experience once he became able to forgive his war-time tormentor, “The Bird.” Finally surrendering his anger and life to Christ, he was able to experience the true freedom that only real forgiveness can bring.
Sunday morning in our worship service (10:45 a.m.), we will be sharing a special simulcast presentation on forgiveness based on this movie, and then go as a group to a matinee of the movie in Coeur d’Alene. You are welcome to join us!
The ultimate point of all this is to reaffirm and proclaim the one-and-only true source of every aspect of freedom that we enjoy and long to experience in deeper ways: Jesus Christ. Jesus himself declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. .. then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free... so if the son sets you free , you will be free indeed!” (John 14:6; 8:32, 36) The Apostle Paul then echoes and expounds of this truth in Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
We invite you to join us for any or all of the “freedom” events this weekend, and pray that whether or not you are able to join us, you will be renewed in the freedom that only He can give!
Pastor Jon L. Pomeroy can be reached at the Sandpoint Church of God.