Wednesday

“God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (v. 4)

Galatians 4:4-7 Wednesday 15 August 2018

Psalm: Psalm 45


Background

Today the Church remembers Mary, the mother of God. Methodists have not always had much to do with Mary as a special person of spiritual interest. This is a pity, because Mary is not just a passive vessel for God’s will. She is a wonderful example of someone who takes a risk in faith.

Mary did not know what the outcome will be in saying ‘yes’ to God (Luke 1:26-38) but she did, wholeheartedly: “Let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary is a wonderful pattern for our faith. She was no slave to some remote notion of God’s will! She thought carefully, challenged the angel with her perplexity, and then made a choice.

In today’s passage, Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia. He explained how God comes to be close to humanity. Paul wrote not about how close God is to each of us, that we can call God ‘Abba’ or ‘daddy’ (verse 6). But Paul also wrote about the change this closeness makes in our relationship to God. And he rebuked the Galatian churches for behaving as if they were still subject to law, not relationship.

In traditional translations, Paul spoke of us becoming “sons”, where the NRSV translation says “child” (v. 7). We have rightly changed the word to give a more perfect understanding of the original meaning for our day, because in our society sons have equal status with daughters. But even in the original, Paul intended to include all Christians in what was then the special category ‘son’: women, men, Greek, Jew, slave and free (Galatians 3:28).

We can all become like Mary: we are all given the chance to be partners with God in re-creating our world. No longer a slave just following the law, but a child in relationship with God and God’s other children. There is still authority in the relationship, and it sits with God. But it is real relationship, with God giving God’s very self to the well-being of the child.


To Ponder

  • What name do you most easily use for God?
  • How far do you think our society values daughters as much as sons? Is this right? Why, or why not?
  • Do you agree with modifying language in scripture translation to preserve meaning, as society changes? Why?
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