It is Christmas Eve. I ask for the grace to pray and meditate faithfully. I ask for patience, tolerance, compassion, and empathy. I ask to abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, and self-importance. May the love and light of the incarnation be born in my community and my own heart this night. May my words, thoughts, and actions proclaim justices, kindness, and humility.
18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days;
19but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother.
20In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!
21Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia,
22and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ;
23they only heard it said, ‘The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.’
24And they glorified God because of me.
1) "And they glorified God because of me;"
2) Paul sounds so defensive in these passages. Like he's truly wounded by what he has heard about the goings on among the Galatians. He's so boastful. These are ironic verses to be praying while asking to abstain from self-importance. But the last verse is the gold. Would that people came to glorify God because of us. Does the world glorify God because of the church? Hardly. I witness much more cursing of God because of the church, and other fanatical religious that practice violence, judgement, persecution of the marginalized, and condemnation. Locally, I'm more likely to hear people glorifying individual churches if they happen to do good works in the community, not God. That thought makes me so very sad. What we do we do because God makes us able. And God has enabled us to do so much. I am so very grateful for the food bank, the extreme weather shelter (especially today as it has been so very cold), Christmas hampers, the give away room, on site nursing, soup kitchen, and all the community and volunteers that make it all happen.
3) What is the invitation in all this? To glorify God. To lead others to glorify God. To get out of the way and let God be glorified.
"My soul give glory to my God!"
Breathprayer: "...glorified God!"