On Sunday evening at confirmation class, the students and I looked at Galatians, a letter of Paul, that was written to the people in Galatia (present day Turkey); that focused on the challenges of being the church that included people from varying backgrounds. Some of the people that were in this early Christian movement had started their faith in the Jewish tradition and others were gentiles who had come from a background of various belief systems. This new collaboration between people from diverse backgrounds caused conflicts.
What did a person have to live like to be considered a Christian? What about all the traditions and laws that the Jewish people used to follow? Would this newly developing group find a way to be church together, even in this midst of these challenges?
All in all, Paul spoke to the people of Galatia about the importance of all people being united in Christ, and because of Christ that Jews and Gentiles had been freed to live - and be the church that was no longer slaves to the law. Jesus had, on the cross, made all that believe in him - FREE!
To some, this offer of freedom from sin and freedom to live seemed too good to be true, like a sales offer that claims a desirable new product is FREE - with no strings attached. This is often NOT our experience, so it's hard to believe that God would give this gift of freedom - for FREE!
But this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the good news that we long for. This freedom is better than any sales offer we've seen, because this offer has been paid in full by Christ on the cross.
We have been freed from sin and sent out to live - to be the church - to be God's children in all the variety and complexity that is the sea of humanity.
Thank you God for this freedom from sin and freedom to live - help us - in our diversity and varied gifts to live freely. Help us to know your offer is one we can trust.
Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.