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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

"Receiving the Spirit... Believing what You Heard."

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

Galatians 3:1-5
3You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! 2The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? 4Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. 5Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

1) "...foolish Galatians;"  "...bewitched;" "...are you so foolish?" "...started with the Spirit;" "...ending with the flesh;" " you with the Spirit;" " miracles among you;" "...believing what you heard"

2) Paul is clearly in sensed.  I can't imagine this being an effective means of communication.  Either he really trusts his authority with this community, or he really doesn't care what response his words have.  There is no question about his feelings or his position.  He is horrified that despite the fact that the Galatians have already experienced miracles and the working of the Spirit among them that they would now start observing the works of the law, effectively surrendering grace for works righteousness.  I have to wonder at what was lacking for the Galatians, having experienced miracles and the works of the Spirit, that they would choose to start observing the law including circumcision, and dietary restrictions.  What would compel them to need the works of the law?  There must have been a need, a felt lack, some obstacle that produced in them a need for "something more" than what they were already experiencing.  I know that if someone wrote to me the way Paul addresses the Galatians, I would not be likely to finish reading the letter.  There are only a small handful of people I'd be willing to finish reading their address if it were delivered like this!

3) What is the invitation in all this? How do I address people I know are committing atrocities?  Do I show them as much curiosity and compassion as I'm currently showing the Galatians?

"Holy One, call us to reconcile, however you must."

Breathprayer: "Receive the Spirit... believing what you heard"

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