Practicing Grace

Daily reading: Galatians 1:13-17, 2:11-21
Monday May 22, 2017

Focus passage: But God had set me apart from birth and called me through his grace.  He was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach about him to the Gentiles.  I didn’t immediately consult with any human being. Galatians 1:15-16

The Epistles are letters written by followers of Christ to communities that they have either had a hand in starting or were in communication with a church that was forming.  They are the earliest documents we have from the Christian community, predating any of the gospels, in their current form.
What we know is that, as the communities are forming, there are a lot of issues to resolve and what we get in the Epistles is a sneak peek into conversations.  We don’t know what the letters sent to Paul or to others said, we only know their response. 
Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia begins with greetings but quickly jumps to a defense of his own authority to preach the gospel to Gentiles.  He reminds the communities that he had been a zealous Pharisaic Jew who had worked hard to persecute and destroy the church until he encountered the risen Christ.  For Paul, grace is the glue that unites the diversity in the faith communities that are forming in Galatia.  It is the Holy Spirit that enables this to happen.
As you think about your community of faith, how do you welcome in people who are different than you?  How do you create an atmosphere of grace where differences are celebrated?

Prayer: Gracious Creator, unsettle our assumptions and our egos.  Open us up to hear your word and grace to welcome in everyone, so that there is room enough for your Holy Spirit to stretch us so there is room for Christ to dwell in and among us.  Amen.

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