It is completely and utterly white. Puritan. No stained glass windows. No ornate decorations. Just a simple Meetinghouse built in 1761.
And I am standing in the same place that faithful patriots assembled one Sunday afternoon in order to pray before they marched off to Lexington Massachusetts to fight against England for freedom! As I glance around, I am reminded of the great ‘cloud of witnesses’ who have gone before me.
My home church is called the First Church of Christ because it was the first church gathered in Connecticut back in 1635. We still worship in the 18th century building and we are still embracing freedom. Are you?
Historian Lois Wieder explains that our forefathers and foremothers likened England’s persecution of her colonies to the Old Testament persecution of the Hebrews by the Egyptians; encouraged their people to enlist and support resistance efforts; and when war actually came, saw divine intervention in all colonial victories. They were serious about freedom!
“The Sunday following the Lexington alarm was a busy one in Wethersfield. The Broad Street or First Company of the Sixth Militia regiment prepared to march to Boston. They attended the morning service as a body and sat in the gallery. Dr. Marsh preached and everyone in the church was in tears. Final preparations were made and in the afternoon families and friends gathered in front of the Meetinghouse where Dr. Marsh offered a prayer.” (from “A Pleasant Land – A Goodly Heritage” by Lois M. Wieder, 1986)
During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington worshiped at my church three times. Sunday, May 20, 1781, was particularly notable because it was during this meeting Washington had with the Count de Rochambeau that the Battle of Yorktown was planned. The following Tuesday the generals and their aides met in Old Wethersfield to hold what has been called ‘the most important conference of the war.’
As I worship in our Meetinghouse this Fourth of July weekend, I can’t help but wonder ‘Is this the pew where George Washington sat?’ My mind imagines that Sunday when so many of the parishioners were coming for spiritual sustenance before embarking on a journey from which they might never return. Were they excited? Were they exhilarated? They were going to fight for freedom! And they were willing to lay down their lives for freedom if that were required.
St. Paul wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery… You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5.1, 13)ow much do you want freedom? And what are you willing to do to throw off chains that bind, so that you might embrace the freedom Christ offers — freedom from anything or anyone who enslaves you?
Paul reminds us yet again in that “Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Romans 6.14) Ahhhh, grace. The gift we don’t deserve and can never earn. And can never lose. The gift that sets us free. From performance; from shame; from paralyzing fear.
During this month of July – Independence Day month – why not ask God to help free you from anything that is binding and preventing you from experiencing the life He wants to offer? Imagine yourself as a patriot – a soldier in the militia – coming to church to pray before you head out in battle to fight for freedom. Thus fortified, you and I can face anything.
Raise your Sword and sing heartily the words of Charles Wesley’s glorious hymn “And Can It Be” with me:
- “My chains fell off!
- My heart was free!
- I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
- Amazing love!
- How can it be
- That Thou, My God, shouldst die for me?”
Every Blessing, Lucinda
©2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 16 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” , “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most,” “God’s Purpose for You,” and “The Courage to Write.” (Purchasing my books here benefits me as an Amazon associate.) She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words weekly at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
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