Galatians – Freedom in Christ
I must confess. Music lifts my spirit and soothes my soul. I was raised in a musical family who taught me that music was important, necessary and enjoyable in life. I still have my mom’s “sheet music” from her growing up days. This makes me smile as I remember watching her play the piano and sing those catchy tunes. Our family gatherings with aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins usually ended with gathering around the piano to sing. I grew up thinking everyone did this. I even thought every child was required to take grueling piano lessons! It wasn’t until much later in life that I found this was not the case!
For my family, it began with Grandpa Lacquement who was the designated song leader (early name for worship leader) of the church where I was raised. I would watch him pick out the songs we sang with great care and wisdom. His choices generally were chosen in harmony with what was being said by he preacher but also after prayer for guidance by the Holy Spirit within him. He trained us with “pray first”. Back in the day, without a “program” or bulletin, Grandpa would listen intently to the message then leaf through the index so he could choose just the right song to finish our time of worship. (Worship Lesson 101 for me.)
I believe music is another aspect of God’s great and wonderful creation. We were created to praise and music was created as a tool to do that in pleasing ways to Him. Great composers receive their gift of writing from God the Creator of all things wonderful. We hear harmonies in the music and can’t help but sing what we hear.
What I learned over the years is music that leads me to worship God while reminding me of what He has done, is doing and will do is priceless, necessary and required for me to stay focused on Him. Worship is surrendering myself to Him. He is God and i are not. Music that brings me to my knees in humble adoration of God is worship. For those being led to worship, it’s not as much about how the song is sung as much as it is about the heart that sings it.
A song that still rings in my heart from Easter’s afterglow is “The Cross Has the Final Word”. This message is simple and yet profound. Jesus work on the Cross is our salvation. His resurrection is the reason for our faith! Yes, the cross has the final word about all of life! We worship, not the Cross, but Jesus who died and rose again for us.
The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Sorrow may come in the darkest night
But the cross has the final word
There’s nothing stronger, nothing higher
There’s nothing greater than the name of Jesus
All the honor, all the power
All the glory to the name of Jesus
Paul ends his letter to the Galatians with this same message. The Cross is the final word of our faith. So, “Live creatively, friends”, Paul writes to the crazy Christians in Galatia. Don’t give up and quit on what you have been taught about Christ. Don’t compare yourself with others. Use music, words, actions to lead people to Christ. Do all to benefit all. “Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.”
The Cross has the final word.
Galatians 6, The Message
Nothing but the Cross
6 1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
6 Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.
7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.
11-13 Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasize in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you. These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ’s suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don’t keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!
14-16 For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
17 Quite frankly, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do—the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus.
18 May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes!
Oh, yes! The Cross has the final word!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for blessings my soul with your music that leads us to think more deeply about what you have done for us on the Cross. You have the final word. You are Truth, Way and Life. You are the beginning and end. You are God and we are not. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen
“May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes!”