Thursday, February 12, 2009
NOTE: I accidentally deleted the daily Bible reading from the ELCA. But this is the daily reading from the American Bible Society. This is from the Contemporary English Version.
1My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too. 2Help carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. 3If you think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself. 4 You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done. 5For each of you have to carry your own load.
6If you are being taught the Christian message, you should share all the good things you have with your teacher.
7Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. 8 If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life. 9So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. 10So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.
11See what big letters I make as I write to you now with my own hand! 12 The people who are trying to force you to be circumcised are the ones who want to show off and boast about external matters. They do it, however, only so that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even those who practice circumcision do not obey the Law; they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you submitted to this physical ceremony. 14As for me, however, I will boast only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; for by means of his cross the world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. 15It does not matter at all whether or not one is circumcised; what does matter is being a new creature. 16As for those who follow this rule in their lives, may peace and mercy be with them-with them and with all of God's people!
17To conclude: let no one give me any more trouble, because the scars I have on my body show that I am the slave of Jesus.
18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, my friends. Amen.
Comments: Paul is dealing with a problem in the Galatian church. Other evangelists have come to teach the followers of Jesus most likely from Jerusalem who understood the Way of Jesus to be a form of Orthodox Judaism. They understood the way to God as through the Mosaic Law. Paul, on the other hand, felt that if some one was not born under Mosaic Law, one should not be circumcised and take on Mosaic Law as a discipline. Paul understood that it was not the Law which made one righteous. It was the grace of God.
What kind of disciplines do I take on to tell me that I am loved by God? As I prepare for Lent, I need find ways to boast in the Cross rather than how well I can follow the rules. What Lenten practice can I undertake that will help me grow in my love and respect for others in the name of Christ Jesus?