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Thursday, 25 January 2018

"Live by Faith... Receive the Promise."

I am very grateful for the grace I have received in being able to maintain a faithful prayer and meditation practice.  I'm grateful for the companions on the journey.  I'm grateful that for sometime now, I feel I have successfully maintained abstinence from alienating behaviours, and behaviours that simply put me into a negative rut.  I ask for the continued grace to grow in Christ, to know and follow him more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly.

Galatians 3:10-14
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.’ 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’ 12But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, ‘Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.’ 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’— 14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

1) "...under a curse;" "...all the things;" " by faith;" "...Christ redeemed us;" " becoming a curse for us;" "...cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree;" "...blessing of Abraham;" "...the promise of the Spirit;" "...becoming a curse for us;" "...cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree;" "...we might receive the promise;" "...receive the promise;"

2) I resent how these words have been taken out of context.  Paul is a Jew, under the law himself. So was Christ. The "curse" is shared by everyone. I'm particularly sensitive to "the curse" as we've been reading the biography of Bonhoeffer, in which it was suggested by "German Christians" that the holocaust was the direct result of "the curse." Its beyond time to abandon that ideology entirely.  Paul is making a point about it being pointless for Gentiles who had accepted Christ to follow the law.  They have already received Christ, the law serves to purpose for them.  Paul is adamant that one community should not impose its practices upon the other.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul explicitly points out that in Christ, our practices no longer matter, what matters is if we loved one another.  And by love, he does not mean, did we feel warm fuzzies for each other, but did we behave faithfully, lovingly towards "the least of these." Every human is abundantly complicit in the inequality, alienation, and evil in the world to illustrate "the curse."

3) What is the invitation in all this? to be conscious of what "the curse" refers to, to receive Christ as having redeemed us from the curse.

"Holy One, redeem your children, redeem your creation, redeem your church."

Breathprayer: "Live by faith... receive the promise."

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