Saturday 13 October 2012

Bible Book:

"May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen."

Galatians 6:11-18 Saturday 13 October 2012


"OK - I think that's it, Paul." said Secundus*. "You're quitesure you don't want me to change anything?"

"Why would I want you to change anything?" said Paul, "I meanevery word of it!"

"Well, some of it is a bit…. strong", suggested Secundus.

"Not half as strong as they'll get when I see them next", saidPaul.

"So much for the 'fruit of the Spirit'," murmured Secundus.

"I heard that," growled Paul, "I may be nearly blind but I'm notdeaf, you know."

"Alright, well, just sign it and then I'll put in the usualgreetings and get it in the post," sighed Secundus.

Paul took the letter and signed it, and passed it back to hisscribe.

"Now, just a 'ps'."

"Oh no," thought Secundus, "Why can't he say, 'Love and bestwishes, Paul', and leave it at that?"

"Now then," said Paul, "write this: 'Those who are trying to getyou circumcised are only trying to show off about how Jewish theyare, and to avoid the kind of hassle I've had to put up with forthe sake of the true gospel. It's not as if they're good Jewsanyway - they don't keep the whole law and they only want toimpress their friends in Jerusalem."

"Here he goes again!" but Secundus kept this thought tohimself.

"'I, however," continued Paul, "am totally convinced that thedeath of Jesus has changed everything, including me, and I don'tcare anymore what anybody else thinks of me.'"

("That's true", thought Secundus.)

"'The law of Moses is irrelevant now - or at least the bitsabout circumcision; what matters is new life in Christ, led by theSpirit. Blessed are you if you agree with me, for you are the truepeople of God.'"

Paul paused, and Secundus thought he had finished. He hadn't."'I don't want to hear any more about this - don't you realise howmuch I've suffered so that you can be free just to follow Jesus?I've got the scars to prove it!'"

("That's true too," thought Secundus, "He's been through a lotfor their sake. No wonder he's so angry.")

And then a softer tone came into Paul's voice. "Just put, 'Loveand best wishes' and get it in the post, would you?"

(* We don't actually know the name of Paul's scribe for thisletter, but we do know that Tertius wrote the letter to Rome -Romans 16:22.)

To Ponder

  • How would you react if you received a letter like this one theGalatians received?
  • The central issue of Paul's letter to the Galatians - whetheror not gentile Christ-followers should be circumcised - may nolonger be relevant to the Church. What do you think Paul might getangry about if he was writing today?
  • The letter to the Galatiansis very obviously a personal onewritten by Paul (with some help from his scribe!). So in what senseis it appropriate to say "This is the word of the Lord" when weread it in church?
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