Good Morning Church — Have I Told You The One About My Son Being Arrested?
Something I always thought I might one day face since I have four boys!
With so much youthful testosterone in my house I think I always thought that eventually I might receive a late night phone call from a holding cell.
But I never thought it would be from my youngest!
Late Thursday night we got the call.
A call we ignored several times since we didn’t recognize the number on the phone display.
We were already half asleep so it took several moments for us to realize the call had been made to both our phones several times and when it rang again we quickly answered.
I was immediately relieved by the voice on the other end of the line. It was my son’s so I knew he was not injured but I could not begin to imagine how he had found his way to a holding cell!
He quickly explained;
About a year and a half ago he had received a traffic violation for not wearing his seat belt.
He had completely forgotten about it.
Until the moment the officer reminded him of the violation about an hour earlier.
At first he thought the officers were joking when they told him he was under arrest but he quickly realized how serious they were when they proceeded to handcuff him behind his back then attempt to place him in the back seat of their police cruiser.
This is where the story gets even more ridiculous.
My son is six foot ten inches tall there was no way he could sit in the back of the car.
Realizing this fact — rather than following their rules and regulations; Which require for the safe transport of arrested individuals; The officers in question had my son lay on his side in the back seat — AND THEN — when they realized they were unable to buckle a seat belt around him in this position — they decided to forgo their guidelines for safe transport and took my son to the jail lying on his side — arms handcuffed behind him — WITHOUT A SEAT BELT!
YES! THEY ARRESTED MY SON FOR FAILURE TO PAY A SEAT BELT VIOLATION AND THEN TRANSPORTED HIM TO JAIL WITHOUT A SEAT BELT!
He was the guest of their little holding cell for about three hours along with three crack addicts.
He was eventually allowed to pay the fine of $117 and was released.
So why am I sharing this little gem of a story in my little sermon post for the day?
The one thing that destroys credibility in everything we do.
How many times have we been disgusted by law enforcement officials that don’t seem to know how to follow the letter of the law themselves?
Almost as if they think the laws do not apply to them.
And secondly, freedom.
The freedom to choose what we think is best for ourselves — and not be over-regulated by frivolous laws.
I personally wear my seat belt — I want my children to wear their seat belts — I encourage everyone to wear their seat belts — but the notion that we should have a law that requires it?
Our Founders would be disgusted by what we have done to the freedom they fought so hard for.
The damage that these two elements cause within our law enforcement system is without question.
- A few hypocritical police officers can do great damage to the perception of the entire police force.
- Frivolous laws — while seemingly reasonable at times — do nothing more than imprison us to the subjectivity our founders fought to free us from.
AND — it is the same in our churches.
- How many times have you heard someone declare they could not attend a church because of the hypocrisy they witnessed from some of the members.
- Or they would not worship at a church that did not adhere to all of the guidelines / laws outlined by the apostles.
In our communities / even our country as a whole — We have laws on the books that have absolutely no relevance at this time but they are held in place by tradition or a complacent citizenry that would rather not go to the trouble to reevaluate them or remove them completely.
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I believe the same can be said for much of what the apostles set aside as guidelines for the early church.
There is so much I could say on this topic and if you would like to read my complete thoughts you will find them on my website lavernvivio.com in a free PDF called Constitution of Faith — read pages 48 — 55 the section titled Worship Without Walls.
But basically as I have read and reread the letters of the apostles the one thing I find consistently is the observations they made about each congregation;
- They look at the uniqueness — the background of who they are ministering to and the problems that are arising as a result.
- They then set guidelines regarding their worship and behavior to keep peace within the assemblies.
I find it hard to believe that Christ would free us from the law, spend His entire ministry calling out the Pharisees and the Sadducee's for the burden they had placed on others through the law, then send out the apostles to replace the laws that had been like “a yoke on the neck of the Children of Israel.” Those are Peter’s words in Acts 15:10–11, not mine.
Just as our founders hoped for a simple freedom for those who would come after them THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST frees us.
Simply — Completely!
So This year as we gather for the Fourth of July can I suggest we set our minds and our paths to a return of simple freedom.
The simple freedom we once knew as a nation.
And as followers of Jesus Christ.
July 2, 2017