take five [minutes]
For the past few weeks in the Sunday morning adult class I facilitate we've been discussing the RCL readings from Galatians, the Apostle Paul's letter that's sometimes called "the epistle of Christian freedom." As I've explained to the class, Galatians was and still is Reformation Central; this coming Sunday for Pentecost 5 we'll talk about Galatians 3 that includes:
27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise
Let's not lose the heritage of the Reformation that began with Martin Luther's acknowledging human enslavement to sin, our total inability to redeem ourselves; let's not lose sight of the sovereignty of grace that the Reformers proclaimed with joy! Let's not imagine losing our claim on our liberty in Christ. Please do not lose the freedom of life in the sufficiency of Christ! Let's not lose behaving as if our unity in Christ does not lead to homogenized sameness but means diverse gifts, perspectives, and personalities—because it does! Galatians was the first ethnic church—ethnic not in the typical Pauline dichotomy of Jews-Gentiles, but ethnic in terms of culture and geography
During this liturgically green season in the church's year of grace, we'll especially be talking about welcoming all comers – which the church I attend already does extremely well – and imagining the possibility of a church with no boundaries of interest, vocation, educational achievement, gender identity, economic sector, sexual orientation. Let's not lose the realization even if we can't become a community that formally includes persons from every sector of every stratum, we still don't need to lose the extravagant welcome we offer everyone.