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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

"Blessed in You... Blessed with Abraham."

I ask for the grace to pray and meditate faithfully. I ask for tolerance, patience, compassion, and empathy. I ask for the grace to abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, and self-importance. May I know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly.

Galatians 3:6-9
6 Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, 7so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ 9For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

1) "...believed God;" "...reckoned;" "...descendants of Abraham;" "...justify the Gentiles by faith;" "...declared the gospel beforehand;" "...All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you;" "...blessed with Abraham;"

2) So, winding up here for what will become interpreted as anti-Semitism (those who follow the law are cursed). But here is the context, Gentiles are being convinced to get circumcised and observe the dietary laws "in order" to follow Christ. But Paul is arguing that they are already "blessed with Abraham who believed."  These texts and how they have been read/interpreted make me so sad.  Paul is clearly admonishing the community for thinking that observances and practices are more important that living a life of faith.  How often do my "practices" distract me, rather than taking me deeper into my relationship with Christ/Christians?  I remember writing in my journal for hours and hours a day, pouring out my soul in Seminary while missing classes and isolating from my classmates. The practice had become a means of avoiding interaction, denying responsibility. Work is only faithful so long as it continues to lead us into the heart of God. When the work separates us, alienates, divides the community, it is no longer faithful.  What are the "purity laws" that alienate us from the "outside world"? Chastity? Monogamy? Charity? Daily ritual Martyrdom? Work exhaustion? Burnout? Busy-ness? Holier-than-thou-ness? A commitment to ignorance? Perfection?  Sacrificing progress for perfection?

3) What is the invitation in all this? To practice only gratitude that we are blessed in the rich traditions that bring us to grace.

"Holy One, bless you children all the world through."

Breathprayer: "Blessed in you... blessed with Abraham."

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