Monday, December 04, 2006

Reflections on Galatians


It felt like an important momant for us tonight, looking back on our time with the Epistle to the Galatians. The conversation we had about how to take what we have learned and put it to work in our community was good, and I want us to hold those things and continue to pursue them.

The things which I distilled from today were these; please add to them what was important to you:

The thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Church should be the place we come when we feel our brokenness rather than where we have to pretend to be fine. The call is to carry one another’s burdens and to share in that struggle.

Our experience of brokeness and conflict is not a mark of our failure but evidence of the spirit of God at work in us. Let us learn to be more honest with each other. We should change our expectation and declare that the norm is struggle and dissonance.

Keep in step with the spirit. We are a spiritual community, and we need to learn to speak of spiritual things in our own language. We walk together and share in the adventure of knowing God. Let this be the place where we talk of our real experience of God without fear of not being correct.

We intend to take sin more seriously not less. Sin is not some outward contamination which can be washed away, but something innate in our nature, something which we will fight with all our days. And we will take grace more seriously. The mercy of God does not come to an end once you become a Christian.

4 comments:

tommy gun said...

i have some comments/responses, but first i just want to say how much i've enjoyed and been challenged by this series...i don't think i've been (allowed myself to be?) impacted by a book of the bible in the way i have been by galations for a long while!

anyway. just something that struck me about the book - Peter. I think he's a really interesting guy. IN the Gospel he's a great encouragement to those of us who bumble and bungle along in our faith - constantly mis-understanding, not getting hints, over-zealous but totally wrong theology, passionate one minute giving up and running away the next....and here he is completely forgetting the heart of the gospel he's been around and trying to do things his way (sounds familiar), yet what i find so totally encouraging is not so much 'here is peter, all-round holy ace guy on top of the vatican and look he messes up too!' but the bit a couple of chapters later about god's promise to abraham. Cos the point there was that god makes promises and he fulfills them. and the promise Jesus made to peter was that he would build his church on that rock. i'm sure he knew what peter would be up to when he said that, but he said it anyway. i'm encouraged that the god who calls me is faithful and will follow things through to completion!


oops too long.

couple of responses from the chat we had:

1) meditation. i was struck when we were talking about positive thinking about a talk i heard on meditation. this guy was basically saying we should do it but the word for us means only trancendental meditation - emptying head of all thought trying to get peace. trouble is, the mind is not designed to be emptied but filled - and christian meditation should be about filling it with good things and not the dross of much of our lives. can we somehow beging to practice this as a group or learn to do it individually?

2) it occurs to me that being honest about how well we're not doing can have its downsides - one being that there is a tendency to become quite self-centered and pick up a 'woe is me i'm doing rubbish i'm off to the garden to eat worms' mentality which apart from not being that helpful can actually make it all about ME (i know cos i do it!)

how can we prevent this?

Mark said...

Great response Tom!
We definitely want to avoid eating worms!
Any more comments from people?

Garmon said...

Agreed that it's been a great series. I've been really struck and challenged by the verse "the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love". One of those verses that I've heard before but not recognised its power.

I'm not entirely sure what it might mean for me or for church though. Also, I see some potential problems as I fear that I could become legalistic in trying to be loving! - getting into a 'I must be as loving as possible' mentality because I want to show (to myself? to others? to God?) that I have faith. I know the answer to that must lie in praying for more fruits of the spirit so that the loving thing happens naturally - but it might help me if someone can word that in a less cliche`d way?

Nancy said...

i have read just a little of this blog... can not even remember how i came across it. anyway, thought i would send a hymn your way.
Praise God!
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/u/turnyour.htm