By M’Cheyl Purchas
July is national freedom month. The United States was founded primarily out of a desire for freedom, and now in 2015, the fight continues.
The freedom to love is one freedom that seems to be a bit undervalued. It’s not an amendment to our Constituion, but it’s just as important, if not more important, than the first amendment. Happiness seems to be at the core of freedom. Thomas Jefferson talked about “the pursuit of happiness,” because he knew that the desire for freedom stems from a desire to be happy.
Sometimes I wonder what the world would look like if more of us could focus on pursuing someone else’s happiness instead of just pursuing our own.
Parkway Christian Center is a wonderful church located in Chesapeake, VA that has made the decision to do just that. They focus on the freedom to love. For the past three summers they have opened their church to the community for what they call “Free Camp.” It is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a free camp for elementary school kids. It lasts for three days and ends with a powerful praise and worship service led by the campers.
My girls have been a part of this camp since it first began. I was a little nervous about it at first, but Parkway is one of those churches where you feel loved as soon as you walk in. I’m not kidding. They greet you outside of the door…before you even get in, and they’re always smiling. I cried the first night when I sat in the balcony and watched as the children cried out to God in praise and worship.
See, we have the freedom to speak out against all of the things in the community that are going wrong. We can choose to talk about the statistical problems or we can do something about them. The members of Parkway Christian Center have chosen to act on the freedom to love. From the time the children first walk into the doors of the church until the day they complain about leaving, they are showered with love. All differences are put aside. None of that matters. The pastors, yes even the senior pastor, stay the night each night on the floors of their offices while the kids sleep in the upstairs classrooms. The pastors and staff members dance with the children and they eventually usher them into worship each night. They provide a safe, warm, loving environment for children in the community who may or may not know the Lord. They don’t get paid for this. They just trust the Lord. They use their freedom to love.
When we are truly free, we can pursue the happiness of other people instead of worrying about our own. When we are truly free, we can put our trust in God and allow Him to take care of us knowing that He will provide. Parkway Christian Center is not a huge mega church, but they are able to do mega things for the kingdom of God because they choose to love and serve God by serving their community. How free are you?