Month: June 2017
Yesterday at Hunter Hills we wrapped up a series on the book of Galatians. As Paul is gliding to an end of this impassioned letter, he gives us one last glimpse of what’s at the center of the gospel: the cross and the community created as a result (i.e., New Creation).
Sometimes we get bogged down in the details of Paul’s arguments and theology, and we seem to miss the climax of his letters. For example, I remember plenty of sermons about Romans 1-12, maybe 13, but I don’t remember any from the remaining 3 chapters. It’s as if we get there and think, “Well, Paul is just giving a few one off statements and sending greetings. Nothing to see here. Move along.” But, the more I read Romans and Paul, the more I think Romans 15:7 is the climax. All of his deep theology and arguments lead to this: “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” That’s it. You want to be spiritual? You want to be a part of God’s world? Then welcome one another.
I see the same thing in Galatians. There are deep thoughts about the Law and faith, Hagar and Sarah, Issac and Ishmael, circumcision versus uncircumcision, and it all drives to these simple points: “Faith expressing itself in love”, “Serve one another”, “Carry one another’s burdens.” In other words, let your communal life reflect the reality of God’s New Creation. Let your communities be formed in the way of the cross; the way of selfless love.
You want to be a “radical follower of Jesus”? It’s really quite simple: love God, love your neighbor as yourself.
So, the real key here is, as we said yesterday, “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” And that’s why I’m writing this. I want to remind my church family, and invite any others reading this, to join us in “being about it”. We are working this week to pick 3. That is, 2 people in the church (not your best friends!), and 1 who is not a member of a church (preferably a neighbor), and we are going to live out this “one another” life that Paul describes. We are going to seek to be people of New Creation. Pick 3, and find a way to “serve one another”, “forgive one another”, “carry one another’s burdens”, “encourage one another”, “love one another”, etc. You determine what this looks like. You don’t have to evangelize and baptize a neighbor. It can be quite simple. It could be an encouraging note, baking bread for a neighbor, cutting someone’s grass, forgiving someone…you get the idea.
This week, let’s be about it. Let’s love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves. And Paul says in Galatians when we do this, we fulfill the Law of Christ. Sounds like good news to me.