Christian community: a family with a …
Galatians 3: 26-4: 7
26 You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 All of you who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 Now if you belong to Christ, then you are the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.
4: 1 I say that as long as heirs are minors, they are no different from slaves, although they really own everything. 2 However, they are placed under guardianship and tutor until the date set by the parents. 3 In the same way, when we were minors, we were also enslaved by the system of this world. 4 But when the time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman and born under the Law. 5 It was so that he could redeem those who were under the Law so that we could be adopted. 6 Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father! 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son or a daughter, and if you are his child, then you are also an heir by God.
The purpose of the resurrection is to “build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people become deeply committed Christians”. Because our purpose is rooted in the example of Jesus and his disciples, our local pastors spoke yesterday about building community. The disciples of Jesus stood out: “Only a minority of groups even claimed to overcome ethnic and class divisions…. The early Christians… were found to be distinctive in a difficult class (slave versus free) and often gender biased. “*
- Christians who call themselves “brother” or “sister” may seem strange. But today’s reading says that we are all members of the spiritual family of God (and therefore of each other). Have you ever had a hard time accepting believers in Jesus who are ethnically, culturally, or faithfully different from you? What about neighbors, classmates, or colleagues of an ethnic, cultural or national origin different from yours? What helps you see everyone as beloved children of God?
- Paul used a word for God so unexpected that most English Bibles only use its Aramaic form: abba. It was “a respectful but intimate way of addressing his father…. [It] appears to have been unique to Jesus (until he was adopted by his disciples; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4: 6). ** The meaning of the word was closer to “Papa” than “Father”. Do you see God more as a distant and sinister force in your life? How can you become more “at home” with your siblings and your abba?
God, you are my Creator and Lord, worthy of admiration and respect. And you are my abba, loving, caring and worthy of my full trust. Teach me to always feel secure that you are “for” me. Amen.
* HarperCollins Christian Edition. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing the Ancient World of Scripture to Life (Kindle Locations 266575-266578). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
** HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing the Ancient World of Scripture to Life (Kindle Locations 227320-227323). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.