Galatians 5: 1, 13-25

New Resources

  • Gifts of the Spirit

    Podcast with Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker
  • Pentecost (Narrative)(2021)

    Podcast with Robb McCoy and Eric Fistler
  • Live as Free People

    by Jim McCrea
    Keith Parkins offers an extraordinary example of what must have been a Holy Spirit-guided moment that happened in South Africa in the days following the release of Nelson Mandela and the ending of the governmentally-sanctioned discrimination of Apartheid. He writes: “As Apartheid drew to an end in South Africa and Mandela was released from Robben Island. Mandela could have called upon the Blacks to rise up and seek vengeance on the Whites. He did not, he showed grace, (he invited his jailer to stand on the platform with him when he was sworn in as president;) he appointed Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu to head what was called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “There was an understandable desire for justice, retribution, [but] instead the path of forgiveness and reconciliation was chosen. The rules were simple: the perpetrators had to tell the truth, the whole truth, and their victims were given the opportunity to forgive. “Many of the atrocities were truly horrific. A policeman called van de Broek told of how he and his fellow officers shot an 18-year-old youth, then burnt the body. “Eight years later they went back, took the father, and forced his wife to watch as he was incinerated. She was in court to hear this confession and was asked by the judge what she wanted. She said she wanted van de Broek to go to the place where they burned her husband’s body and gather up the dust so she could give him a decent burial, van de Broek agreed. “She then added a further request, ‘Mr. van de Broek took all my family away from me, and I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the ghetto and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him. And I would like Mr. van de Broek to know that he is forgiven by God, and that I forgive him too. I would like to embrace him so he can know my forgiveness is real.’ “Spontaneously, some in the courtroom began singing Amazing Grace as the elderly woman made her way to the witness stand, but van de Broek did not hear the hymn, [because] he had fainted, overwhelmed.”...
  • Who Am I to Judge?

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    How often, for instance, do we hear this criticism: if God is all-good, all-loving, and all-merciful, how can God condemn someone to hell for all eternity? A valid question, though not a particularly reflective one. Why? Because God judges no one; God punishes no one. God condemns no one to hell. We do these things to ourselves: we judge ourselves, we punish ourselves, and we put ourselves in various forms of hell whenever we do choose not to live in the light, the truth, and inside God’s Spirit. And that judgment is self-inflicted, that punishment is self-inflicted, and those fires of hell are self-inflicted. There are a number of lessons in this. First, as we have just seen, the fact that God judges no one, helps clarify our theodicy. That is, it helps deflate all those misunderstandings surrounding God’s mercy and the accusation that an all-merciful God could condemn someone to eternal hellfire. Beyond this, it is a strong challenge to us to be less judgmental in our lives, to let the wheat and the darnel sort themselves out over time, to let light itself judge darkness, to let truth itself judge falsehood, and to, like Pope Francis, be less quick to offer judgments in God’s name and more prone to say: “Who am I to judge?”.

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Kris Kristofferson and the Apostle Paul Taught Me Freedom Matters More Than Nostalgia

    by Richard Bryant
    In the beginning of the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul makes a simple and yet profound statement that resonates across the centuries of time; to the Israelites and to us, to anyone addicted to back to Egypt nostalgia. Here’s what Paul says, “For freedom Christ set us free.” Those are six words you need to remember. For freedom, Christ set us free. For the sake of freedom itself, Christ releases us from the pitifully small, confined spaces of back to Egypt nostalgia which we hold on to and claim we won’t let go of-until we taste forgiveness, we savor grace, and see the dramatic possibilities of a life drenched in grace filled freedom.
  • Bearing the Fruits of the Spirit

    by Joan Brown Campbell
    ("When I was much younger, I was privileged to know and work with Martin Luther King, Jr...")
  • Sanctification

    from The Daily Bread
  • Jesus Means Freedom

    by Timothy Downs
  • Freedom Now

    by Jim Eaton
    All photographs are the remainder of a story, like shells or seaweed left on a beach. This week I saw a picture that struck me and I can’t escape. It was a little girl, standing on top of a toilet. The girl’s mother explained she thought it was cute and funny so she snapped the shot and posted it to Facebook. Then she discovered what was going on: the girl was practicing for what to do if there was a shooter in her school. She’d been taught this drill in response to the fear of violence. So, far from cute it was an emblem of our slavery to violence.
  • The Fruit of the Spirit

    by Richard Fairchild
  • Go Fly a Kite

    by Patricia Gillespie
  • Proper 8C (2016)

    by Scott Hoezee
    C.S. Lewis regularly looked for ways to keep Christians from confusing the fruit of their salvation with the root of grace that alone makes the Christian life possible. One of his better known such examples involves the 6-year-old little boy who comes to his father and says “Daddy, can I have $5 to buy you a present?” The father obliges the child and pulls a $5 bill out of his pocket. Later the child comes back to the father to give him the gift he bought. The father is, of course, thrilled with the gift and thanks and praises and kisses the child for his thoughtfulness and his generosity. But, Lewis notes, only a fool would conclude the father came out $5 ahead on the deal. We don’t bring to God anything he did not already give to us. But he is as thrilled as he can be when we bring to him the gifts of our spiritual fruit. And as loving children, it thrills us to offer these and to receive our Father’s beaming love over and over again.
  • Fellowship

    by Johann Peter Lange
  • Golf and the Spirit

    by David Martyn
  • Proper 8C (2013)

    by Stan Mast
    ("The beautiful orchards that grace the landscape of western and northern Michigan help me think about the fruit of the Spirit. In the dead of winter, there is no sign of fruit, though those are most assuredly fruit trees. In the spring, there is still no actual fruit, but there are now little buds and then lovely blossoms...")
  • The Strange Case of the Spirit and the Flesh

    by Harold McNabb
    ("In 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde...")
  • Warts and All

    by Carol Mumford
  • Free at Last!

    by John Ewing Roberts
    ("The great church historian Roland Bainton wrote a classic book called The Travail of Religious Liberty.")
  • Alternative Freedom

    by Rodney Sadler Jr.
  • Quitting Smoking

    Ron Springer
    How faith helped one person kick the habit. Submitted by Ron Springer. (Comments to Ron at ronspringer@juno.com.)
  • The Freedom Trail

    by Jim Standiford
    ("There was a "Freedom Trail" for African Americans. It was also called the "Underground Railroad""...)
  • Life In the Spirit

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
  • Toscanini

    from Today in the World
  • Proper 8C (2004)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson

Other Resources from 2019 and 2020

  • Sermon Starters (Proper 8C)(2019)

    by Doug Bratt
    Cornelius Plantinga notes how the themes of freedom and liberty run throughout Stephen Ambrose’s fine book, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West. He points out that it shows how Virginia planters at the end of the 18th century were expected to live up to a code. They had to be skilled at riding, hiking, and dancing. They were expected to be adept at the small sword, cards, and fiddle playing. (Thomas Jefferson was pretty skillful on his violin.) Undaunted Courage shows that Virginia planters also had long political discussions about liberty, and about the combination of liberty and good order — the two treasures always in tension with each other. In it Ambrose writes, “A Virginia gentleman was expected to be hospitable and generous, courteous in his relations with his peers, chivalrous toward women, and kind to his inferiors. There was a high standard of politeness; . . . The unpardonable sins were lying and meanness of spirit.” Unfortunately, all of these lofty character virtues applied only to and between white men and women...
  • Fruit of the Spirit

    by Frederick Buechner
  • Freedom Sunday

    by Todd Edmondson
  • Proper 8C (2019)

    by Ryan Hansen
  • Holy Commitment

    by John Kavanaugh, SJ
    Viktor Frankl, in The Doctor and the Soul, wrote of the stakes involved when we face our true liberty: As soon as we lend our minds to the essence of human responsibility, we cannot forbear to shudder: there is something fearful about human responsibility. But at the same time something glorious. ... It is glorious to know that the future of the things and the people around us is dependent—even if only to a tiny extent—upon our decision at any given moment. What we actualize by that decision, what we thereby bring into the word, is saved; we have conferred reality upon it and preserved it from passing.”...
  • Set Free for Freedom

    by Kelley Land
  • Proper 8C (2019)

    by Thomas O'Brien
  • Proper 8C (2019)

    by Amy L. B. Peeler
  • Freedom

    by David Peters
  • Called to Liberty

    by C. Von Reynolds

Other Resources from 2016 to 2018

Other Resources from 2013 to 2015

Other Resources from 2010 to 2012

Other Resources from the Archives

Children's Resources and Dramas

Currently Unavailable