calendar May 4, 2007 in Assembly, Bishop messages

Assembly 07 sermon: For freedom Christ has set us free

“We begin with the inheritance,” Bishop Claire S. Burkat said in her sermon at the Assembly’s opening Eucharist May 4. Her sermon focused on freedom in Christ.

Listen to the bishop’s sermon (mp3, 7MB)

“Like an orchestra, we need every instrument and every gift to play the masterpiece that is before us,” said Bishop Claire Burkat in her sermon during the opening worship at the twentieth annual assembly of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod. This is the first assembly over which she presided as Bishop.

Bishop Burkat told the story of a professor at a prestigious New England conservatory. He radically began a two semester course on the art of music by announcing that all members of the class would receive an A. Their only requirement was that they had to write him a letter and imagine themselves into the next May telling him why they deserved this grade. In doing this, he opened the possibility for them to develop their full potential, freed from anxiety and fear.

Being bound by anxiety over following rules was something that Paul addressed in Galatia. He wrote: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Burkat acknowledged the toxic demands of American society and asked the assembly: “What if there were no barriers, no fears, no shaming voices in the head.”

“We start with the inheritance,” said Burkat. “We don’t have to earn it or fight for it, or cheat someone else for our birthright. It is given to us freely, to be freely accepted. We already got an ‘A’ from the conductor.”

Christ has liberated us from a religion and life full of rules and regulations so that we can have an authentic relationship with God, said Burkat.

“We are encouraged to take risks, ask questions, raise doubts, admit mistakes. That is freedom.

Let’s live into the freedom to move from “what’s in for me?” to “How can we be a blessing?”