Today is a day for testimony. We need to remind ourselves and one another that we have indeed been set free. Maybe we can talk about what we’ve been set free from. Maybe we talk about obstacles overcome. But the simple fact of freedom is what we focus on today. The more compelling part of the story ought to be what happens after you have been set free.
Notice all the past tense, completed action in both the epistle and in the psalm. “You were ransomed” and “you have come to trust in God” and “you have been purified” and “you have loosed my bonds.” All of this talks about what has already happened; and a part of what we do when we come together to worship is to celebrate this freedom, to give thanks for this blessing, and to live out this purification by living in love together. So, tell your story. Find ways to hear the stories of those in your community you don’t hear from often enough. Remember together so that you can worship together. Once you deal with what has happened, what you have been given already, then you can talk about response.
The future tense of the psalm is all about response. You have loosed my bonds; therefore, I will lift the cup of salvation; therefore I will pay my vows to God. Peter tells us that since we were ransomed, we will set our faith and hope in God. Because we have been purified by grace, we can love one another. We remember and we respond. That’s worship today.
We also need to remember the author of all this giftedness, what Jesus has done for us. Our celebration today is remembering what Jesus has done and who he is. Peter walks through this for us and with us. Let there be a time of declaration of faith in Jesus. What songs can we sing that lift up the Resurrected one? What prayers can we pray that embrace this person and the work he has already done in us individually and collectively? My hope is built on nothing less. All hail the power of Jesus’ name. What a testimony for this day!
We tell his story, and we tell our story. That is what worship is today. That is what we bring and what we offer today—because we have been set free.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.