1 Kings 19:1-15a
Psalm 42 & 43
Peace be with you!
Somewhere hidden in my office is a postcard my mom sent me while she was on a business trip during my first semester of college ten years ago. She talks about the conference, which she is attending to pick out product for her Christian book and gift shop. My mom rambles on about her sister is enjoying people-watching and how hot it is. She ends with a note of how proud she is of me for going to college – something she never did. Of course, going to college was not to supposed to be possible for me according to the doctors who first diagnosed me with Cerebral Palsy. I enjoy randomly finding the beat up postcard when I am looking for something or reorganizing my office. The postcard reminds me of how far I have come and how proud my mom is of me.
Paul continues his letter to the Galatians by discussing how we should live faithfully according to the good news. Jesus reveals how we are supposed to relate to each other and work together to build a solid community of faith. We do not have to worry about making right our relationship with God the Father, because Jesus Christ did it for us when he was crucified, died, and was resurrected. Jesus provides a way for us to know and be loved by God.
The Jewish Christians guard themselves by their laws and by observing their festivals. The law was valuable before Jesus came for it provided discipline for God’s people to live by (Galatians 3:23-24). Now that Jesus has come into the world we are no longer subjects to the law (Galatians 3:25) for he releases us from our bondage to the law. The law ultimately revealed to us our need for a Savior, but we could never match up to its unrelenting demands.
We are justified by faith as God’s children (Galatians 3:24b, 26). Jesus embodies how we are to live our lives as God’s children. Paul writes, “No longer is there Jew or Greek, slave or free, or male or female.” (Galatians 3:28). The divisions of the past no longer have value in the world where Jesus has died for our sins. Jesus radically changes the way individuals enter into a relationship with God the Father. He destroys any roadblock that held people back from knowing the Triune God. Jesus frees us from the law by being crucified on the cross and dying for our sins.
By destroying these divisions, Jesus provides a way for us to live in community with each other. We are no longer divided by our differences. Now we are bound together by our faith in Jesus Christ who allows us to be in a relationship with the God the Father. Our unique personalities and gifts belong to the community to help it grow and prosper. Jesus uses our unique traits to further God’s plan for our community. Divisions are a thing of the past; our unique traits give the community life in the world where it is easier to be divided. The world preys on our past divisions, but Jesus brings us with all of our differences to be the community to share the good news.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians has survived thousands of years. As Christians, it is a letter we go back to to remind ourselves we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. For the Galatians, the letter tells how to live faithfully in the world, with our unique personalities and gifts. The letter provides a blueprint of life as a Christian.
Letters have a way of putting things in perspective, reminding us of how life is and what we are to do. They also give us something to go back to remind ourselves of a relationship close to our hearts. The letter to the Galatians reminds us to end the divisions among ourselves, to live in community with each other, and to use our unique personalities and gifts to further God’s plan. Paul understood the power of the written word and physically having a letter read and reread. Nothing is more powerful than a letter from a true friend who shares their heart with you.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Paul’s powerful words to the Galatians encouraging us to work together as a community of believers. Help us to read Paul’s letter to the Galatians with an open heart as we work towards ending the divisions of this world and instead work to further God’s plan. Bring us together as your children and use us for your mission. Thank you for the letter to the Galatians to read and reread. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. Who has written you an important letter?
2. What divisions exist in today’s world? How does Jesus end these divisions?
3. What challenges do we face as Christians living in community? How can we overcome those challenges?