That is, we anticipate receiving the Lord’s Supper at the altar rail this coming Sunday. Independence Day in more than one way! Speaking of independence, in Sunday’s Gospel Jesus seems quite free to be Lord and Messiah anywhere but home! His hometown knew his humble beginnings. They had heard the rumors attached to Mary and Joseph’s betrothal, as well as the arrival of baby Jesus a little too early into the marriage to avoid gossip. Even full-grown, Jesus seemed no more impressive than a son of a carpenter should be. Mark tells us Jesus “could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. He was amazed at their unbelief.”

Most of Nazareth was “free” to draw their own conclusions about Jesus. Those bound by sickness paid no mind to such freedoms, and in their great need placed themselves into the hands of a wood-worker. He worked wonders for them and freed them from disease.

This weekend we celebrate our freedoms as Americans. Our scriptures in Mark 6:1-13 and Ezekiel 2:1-5 caution us against making an idol out of freedom. But for the grace of God in Christ, we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. Too often, in acting freely we construct for ourselves – or others – a prison.

Receiving the Lord’s Supper, we receive the body and blood of the one who promised to set us free indeed. Christ gives himself to us, from the outside-in, so that his Spirit now within us might lead us in mission, “two-by-two.” As the disciples in our Gospel discovered, sometimes this mission leads us far from home, and sometimes our reception is less than welcome. Such is the strange freedom of the Christian. Freed in Christ, we are summoned into a life beyond our mere choices. Even as we submit to our one true Lord, we find the beauty of Christ’s freedom: a freedom that no person or power on earth can take away from us.

Pr. Tom