SERMON TITLE: “The Gospel of Freedom: Freedom for Mercy”
SERMON TEXT: Matthew 9:9-17
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: July 9, 2017, at First UMC
In July 1976, when our country was celebrating our bicentennial, my Libby Loggers high school marching band was chosen to represent the state of Montana in two of the nation’s biggest parades. On July 3, we marched gloriously in New York City, and on July 4, we began to strut our stuff in Philadelphia—until a sudden torrential downpour devastated the parade and sent us all scrambling for the bus, with our band uniforms and musical instruments soaking wet. That was a bummer for everyone who had worked so hard to be there for the nation’s 200th birthday party. But who can control the weather, right? We Americans might have been able to declare our independence from the British, but not from Mother Nature. The noise of the storm drowned out the sounds of patriotic music that day. In that city of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, we had to use our imaginations to hear freedom ring.
Fortunately, we have the freedom to use our imaginations and look on the bright side of any situation. So I want to tell you a joke. But I want to make sure you get the punch line. So, before I tell you the joke, I’m going to remind you of the Paul McCartney song that goes, “Someone’s knocking at the door. Someone’s ringing the bell.” Now, with that image in mind, I’m going to ask you a question.
Why are there no “knock-knock” jokes about America?
Because freedom rings ( . . . the doorbell. Get it?)
All through this month of July, I’m preaching a sermon series on “The Gospel of Freedom.” We’re working through Matthew chapter 9 and a little bit of chapter 10. Last Sunday, I preached to you about freedom from paralysis. But freedom isn’t always liberation from what oppresses or binds us. Sometimes it’s about freedom for something. So, today, as we continue our series on “The Gospel of Freedom,” I invite you to look with me at Matthew 9:9-17. Let’s see what it means to have freedom for mercy.