Lesson 11: February 12
New Birth Brings Freedom: Galatians 4:8 – 20
Teaching Strategy: Name and explore religious expectations and practices that may diminish Christian freedom or hurt people in the community of God’s loving family.
Paul writes to the Galatians because they changed course in their understanding of Christian faith. Through Paul’s teaching the Galatian Gentiles came to faith in Christ and lived according to the Gospel they learned from Paul. In Paul’s absence, they were influenced by religious leaders who insisted they keep the Law in order to maintain right relationship with God. The leaders felt threatened because the new converts represented a growing edge of Christian faith that was beyond their ability to regulate. In thinking about how Paul’s letter finds application in our own time, let’s consider the extent to which we try to regulate who is “in” and who is “out” based on criteria external to the Gospel. And who benefits from these regulations? How do we make space in our lives, in our communities, and in our world for the grace of God, the love of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit?
Prayer: Open us, O God, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and recognize the “other” as our neighbor. We pray for those in Kabul who are recovering from the fall out of the bombing at the Afghan Supreme Court in Kabul. We pray for our Syrian brothers and sisters who are caught day after day in the tragedies of violence and war. We pray for Israel and Palestine. Open us, O God, to be ambassadors of peace at home and abroad. We pray for the Standing Rock Tribe in North Dakota. We pray for refugees and immigrants whose plans for resettlement have been disrupted by political uncertainties. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.