Prayer: Speak to us Lord, that we may hear your truth and live as people set free. Amen.
Reading: John 8: 31-36 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Have you ever signed on to support an event or cause only to find that the premise wasn't exactly as it had been explained or that as other members joined, they influenced the committee according to their will or needs such that the outcome changed while you pressed on toward the objective? You might have felt like the rug was pulled out from under you and that you couldn't support the group's revised objectives. Sometimes though, we need to have an open mind to see they may have a better plan. It just takes us a while to come around.
Jesus was speaking to Jews who already believe his teachings...that is until his latest words called into question their understanding of the freedom granted to them as descendants of Abraham. Since they were not bound as slaves, they believed their lives had already been secured by their ancestry alone. But Jesus tells them, they are bound...for the sins they surely commit ensure they cannot be free. They have become slaves to their sins. They no longer have a place in the family just slaves must sit apart from the family.
Jesus then gives them a path to rejoin the family so that their sin won't keep them separate: "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Living as faith-filled people, with open minds, this is the truth that will set us all free. --Andy Gates
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