God calls us here today, calls you and me, what a privilege.
When God makes us call, it may often go unnoticed. And it is not because God's voice is not clear enough or because the message is complicated, no. What happens is that we are distracted, our mind is wandering in the world, on the internet, in Facebook, in TV movies and so forth ... or we are lost in past memories with things that no longer exist, inviting depression in... or we may already be exploring a future that does not arrive and invades us with anxiety.
But God makes you a call today, here, to you, to me, to each and everyone walking out there. This call is clear, it is authentic. It is God making this call... not your conscience or your mind creating it... no. It is God —Father, Mother, Son, Spirit, all as One doing it.
It is a voice, a wordless whisper. It is a call that needs no fancy phrases, but a personal call from God that goes straight into your heart, —and then to your mind. It is the same call that Jesus realized one day, and that one day it also made him realize the lenght of the privilege, the commitment, the challenge before him.
Matthew 22 reminds us of the parable Jesus told to illustrate the Kingdom of Heaven:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
It is your choice if you want to be at this party. You have a call to attend that party. Now pay close attention, because a very important aspect of this call is revealed to us, Galatians 5:13 explains it this way:
You, my brothers, have been called to live in freedom. Do not use this freedom as a cover for purely human desires! Instead, use the freedom to serve one another in love.
This is the writing that God placed on our hearts today, so we could be Free for Love —Libres por Amor.
When this church was first conceived, there were several of us following a call. Too many of us, we could say, were trying to organize a feast. But something went wrong according to plan and hope was lost. You see, when we are invited to a party, we are also prompted to honor the host, to join him or her in celebrating with joy and happiness. You don’t go to a party to ruin the event, to scare the guests and abusing friends of the owner of the house.
When Libres por Amor (Free by Love) was born, Freedom was the word that God wanted to guide this ministry under a new call. New plans for the same feast. Our sister Marcia McAllister had brought from Florida a wonderful equipment to start an internet radio station… we had to have music at a party! And she also brought new words of encouragement inspired by God, so the word "Freedom" was key to the name of Radio Libre Soy, as it is another dear guest God wanted to be here.
Then came a time when Galatians 5: 7-8 came alive in this church:
"You were running the race well. Who prevented them from following the truth? Surely it was not God, because he is the one who called them to be free.”
From those first called to this party, very, very few remain. We are now to learn from past lessons: we are not here to put forward any selfish, personal desires midst of a celebration; we are not here to ruin dinner talking about anything but the truth. We can not tolerate the yeast of false teachings work through the whole batch of dough. And verse 10 of Galatians comforts us —
"I trust that the Lord will keep them from believing false teachings. God will judge the person who is confusing, whoever he is.“
Not us! God is in charge. A not for us to judge.
So this is how today, we are bearing witness of a live scripture. I repeat: we have such privilege and honor today. Let us go back to Matthew 22: 9-10 as the King instructs his servants, ‘
‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests."
Hello! Now look around and see this room. How many people do you figure out can fit in here? Do not count the chairs... We are servants of the Lord, the King, who don’t have to go out to find selected guests, no, but to anyone, through the streets of the city, this city!
And I have other news for you: we, the servants of the King, are also the King’s guests! But, to attend the big party, we can, should dress appropriately for the occasion! And I do not mean clothes, fine fabrics with embroidered ornaments, no, not talking about clothing our bodies which is ultimately something that God does not care about… but clothing our souls. This is the feast of freedom which you attend dressing a sincere heart, a word of truth and a spirit willing to serve, not to judge, not to discriminate. This is not so much a mandate as a reminder... Paul reminds us in this passage of Galatians 5:14, we are free... free! Let us not continue acting as slaves. 'We are not free to debauchery but to serve one another by LOVE !! because
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Words that as you know, are also found in Leviticus 19:18: “
"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord."
This is freedom: to serve, to love one another. From a sincere and devoted heart. From words to speak truth. We learn to be free by serving others, because others are "thy neighbor"! What a great challenge, what a beautiful challenge. How will you respond to this call? We have to serve in this great celebration, it's our turn to bring the other guests, and spreading this joy among them... but first you have to feel that joy... first you have to learn to love, to accept yourself... and then you can share it, because no one can gives what he or she does not have. But do not worry, because in this party, we all shall learn, we are in the process of learning to love... learning to serve... with no further distinctions. Each and all are invited by the King! Let us be those who have been able to listen, hear the voice of God in your heart, that wordless voice calling you with an infinite love and tenderness, saysing: Come, my daughter… come, my son… enjoy this freedom banquet that I have prepared just for you, for all of you, now that you are ... Free for Love!
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Enrique Zenteno is currently in charge of the lay pastoral leadership in Libres por Amor, MCC Emerging Church at Puebla, Mexico.