In Galatians 1:14 (Common English Bible), the Apostle Paul describes his prior life as being “militant about the traditions of my ancestors.” In his writings, Paul was always honest about his rather poor treatment of those trying to walk the path of Christ. However, after his conversion, his focus was always on sharing his passion and thoughts about his new life in the living Christ. Descriptions such as faithful, determined, passionate, thoughtful, opinionated, or courageously facing imprisonment surface for us as we read his letters. Yet, nothing about being militant. That part of his life had died, not to be resurrected.
There are many voices in Christianity today: progressive, contemplative, evangelical, fundamental, and many voices in between. As each of us discerns what path, what voice to follow, let us remember the encouragement of Paul: “You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love (Galatians 5:13).” Serving through love and serving through hate or fear are very different. Yes, there is much to be done and many injustices to face. At times the news is quite dire. Yet, as we garner our courage and determination to serve, let us remember the great commandment to love. Jesus remembered. Paul remembered. So should we.
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbors as you love yourself (Matthew 22:37-38).
Come worship with your neighbors in a place where hate and fear have no room to grow.
Rev. Sue Ann