If you are new to this blog, or to the Revised Common Lectionary, or just need a reminder, here is a very small explanation of how it works. The Lectionary is one way of reading through the Bible in a three year cycle (known as Years A, B, and C). The daily readings of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all anticipate the Scripture texts for Sunday; and, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday readings all reflect back on the previous Sunday. And each year is attentive to the major events of the life of Christ and of the church.
So, today’s New Testament text looks forward to World Communion Sunday, a day in which we intentionally celebrate the truth that we as individuals and local congregations belong to a much bigger Body of Christ – Christians from different cultures and nations all share Jesus together, symbolized and remembered through our common eating from the Lord’s Table.
The Apostle Paul needed to give the Galatian churches some remedial teaching on the basic nature of God’s gospel of grace in Christ. The Gentile believers had begun to buy-in to the notion that they needed to become Jews in order to really be Christians. Paul would have nothing to do with it because it betrayed the nature of the gospel that in Christ all are one new society, and not old Israel. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The gospel of grace is the great equalizer. In Christ, God has created a new society in which all come together by faith. That means people do not need to become Jewish to become a Christian; it also means that no one needs to become an American or any other type of person in order to truly belong to Christ. The gospel of grace means we are not to only be around people who are just like us, looking for others to conform to us. It means we appreciate and embrace the wonderful variety of people of all races, classes, ethnicities, gender, and cultures without demanding they be just like us. In Christ, we are all one new society, one gospel culture celebrating and enjoying Jesus. It would be poignant for us all to remember this wonderful reality when we approach the Table this Sunday.
Gracious God, you established the church as a new egalitarian society through your Son, the Lord Jesus. Help me to connect meaningfully with others very different from myself so that grace will be my only rule for life. Amen.