when the mob took to the streets

WCC

WATERFORD COMMUNITY CHURCH - 11:00am Sunday WORSHIP

by: Brent Wood

03/09/2023

0

I'm a big fan of zoos.  When my kids were little we used to buy passes each summer to the Potawatomi Park Zoo, partly because we lived just three blocks from the zoo.  We could walk over there any time for free (kind of) - but then we could also use the pass to visit other zoos across the country for free as well.  


While I love to see all the various animals, I have to say that I sometimes feel a little bad for them. It has to be rough enough to be cooped up day after day in some exhibit space, but then to have hundreds of people just staring and pointing at you? I can't think that's fun.

Lately there have been some animals in some zoos who have taken matters into their own hands - or paws, or claws, or talons, or whatever happens to be on the end of their legs - and escaped. They have left the premises.

Nova, a clouded leopard, recently escaped from her enclosure at the Dallas Zoo. Ben, a bear at the St. Louis Zoo, has escaped not once, but twice in just the past couple of months. Flaco, an owl at the Central Park Zoo in NYC also escaped last month - with the help of an accomplice. She's evidently still on the fly.

Those stories remind me of the day when a mob (that's what a group of them is called) of wallabies escaped from the Potawatomi Park Zoo. Like a dozen of them. Someone evidently left a gate open, and they just went hopping off down the street (but not in the direction of my house - just think how cool it would have been to look out my window and see all these marsupials bouncing by!)

But they had found their freedom!

Freedom is a core human desire. We value the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, the freedom to come and go as we please, the freedom to pursue our dreams and goals, the freedom to make choices (and to live with the consequences), the freedom to eat brownies for breakfast. We crave freedom.

But how much freedom are we experiencing spiritually?

Religion has a way of encroaching on freedom. People create rules and standards to live by that supposedly make you spiritual, or measure your spirituality. (And many of them have little Bible basis.) The result? We work and wear ourselves out to become something we can't be on our own. We get frustrated by our failures, and become proud when we think we measure up. But we lose our freedom in the process.

There's a strange statement that Paul makes in his letter to the Galatians that says this:

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (5:1)

Now that seems a little redundant to me, but the point is that Christ came to bring us freedom. He came to bring us freedom from the penalty and power of sin. And that's where we usually focus. But he also came to bring us freedom from the legalism of religion. And the burdens it brings. And the fatigue. And the self-righteousness. And the judgmentalism.

And those are some good things to be free from!

So are we just free to do as we wish, kind of an "anything goes" approach? Absolutely not. But we are free to pursue God individually, to enjoy a personal relationship with him, to make choices based on that relationship (vs. some man-made rules), and to know that he's not waiting to club us every time we step out of line.

That's what this verse is talking about.

The religious leaders of the day had defined spirituality by a list of rules. Keep the rules and you were good. Mess up and, well, that was unfortunate for you. But that's not God's plan. He wants you live free, to enjoy life, and to be confident of his love! Every day.

As for the mob? The police were called in to help locate and round up the stray bounders. If I recall correctly, the wallabies eventually herded themselves into someone's garage - and the zoo people came and collected their runaways. I'm sure it was better for the animals as the city of South Bend didn't much reflect their native Australian habitat, but part of me wished they could have kept their freedom.

 But we don't need to fear the religious police (or zoo keepers).  We simply need to pursue our relationship with Christ - in freedom!
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I'm a big fan of zoos.  When my kids were little we used to buy passes each summer to the Potawatomi Park Zoo, partly because we lived just three blocks from the zoo.  We could walk over there any time for free (kind of) - but then we could also use the pass to visit other zoos across the country for free as well.  


While I love to see all the various animals, I have to say that I sometimes feel a little bad for them. It has to be rough enough to be cooped up day after day in some exhibit space, but then to have hundreds of people just staring and pointing at you? I can't think that's fun.

Lately there have been some animals in some zoos who have taken matters into their own hands - or paws, or claws, or talons, or whatever happens to be on the end of their legs - and escaped. They have left the premises.

Nova, a clouded leopard, recently escaped from her enclosure at the Dallas Zoo. Ben, a bear at the St. Louis Zoo, has escaped not once, but twice in just the past couple of months. Flaco, an owl at the Central Park Zoo in NYC also escaped last month - with the help of an accomplice. She's evidently still on the fly.

Those stories remind me of the day when a mob (that's what a group of them is called) of wallabies escaped from the Potawatomi Park Zoo. Like a dozen of them. Someone evidently left a gate open, and they just went hopping off down the street (but not in the direction of my house - just think how cool it would have been to look out my window and see all these marsupials bouncing by!)

But they had found their freedom!

Freedom is a core human desire. We value the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, the freedom to come and go as we please, the freedom to pursue our dreams and goals, the freedom to make choices (and to live with the consequences), the freedom to eat brownies for breakfast. We crave freedom.

But how much freedom are we experiencing spiritually?

Religion has a way of encroaching on freedom. People create rules and standards to live by that supposedly make you spiritual, or measure your spirituality. (And many of them have little Bible basis.) The result? We work and wear ourselves out to become something we can't be on our own. We get frustrated by our failures, and become proud when we think we measure up. But we lose our freedom in the process.

There's a strange statement that Paul makes in his letter to the Galatians that says this:

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (5:1)

Now that seems a little redundant to me, but the point is that Christ came to bring us freedom. He came to bring us freedom from the penalty and power of sin. And that's where we usually focus. But he also came to bring us freedom from the legalism of religion. And the burdens it brings. And the fatigue. And the self-righteousness. And the judgmentalism.

And those are some good things to be free from!

So are we just free to do as we wish, kind of an "anything goes" approach? Absolutely not. But we are free to pursue God individually, to enjoy a personal relationship with him, to make choices based on that relationship (vs. some man-made rules), and to know that he's not waiting to club us every time we step out of line.

That's what this verse is talking about.

The religious leaders of the day had defined spirituality by a list of rules. Keep the rules and you were good. Mess up and, well, that was unfortunate for you. But that's not God's plan. He wants you live free, to enjoy life, and to be confident of his love! Every day.

As for the mob? The police were called in to help locate and round up the stray bounders. If I recall correctly, the wallabies eventually herded themselves into someone's garage - and the zoo people came and collected their runaways. I'm sure it was better for the animals as the city of South Bend didn't much reflect their native Australian habitat, but part of me wished they could have kept their freedom.

 But we don't need to fear the religious police (or zoo keepers).  We simply need to pursue our relationship with Christ - in freedom!
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