December 17, 2010
Finals are over! Thanks be to God, I can pay attention to the holiday preparations I've been putting off as I gave priority to drawing and studying. I am also very grateful for prayers and good thoughts shared as I have tried to open up my old brain to new, exciting ideas. I'm finding a more humorous approach to my art and enjoying the lighter quality it brings. A happy semester and a happy time to launch into the Christmas bustle doing only those things (hopefully) which result in greater appreciation of faith, family, and friends.
So, on to our devotion and keeping in mind this week's theme, Healing, and thinking of yesterday's reading from Galatians…here's the theological question of the day.
Given: Roman citizens looked down on Greeks. Greeks despised Romans, and Jews with their highly-developed religion felt superior to both. Therefore, the Christian who also claimed Jewish heritage in those days often felt religious superiority to both Roman and Greek Christians. The situation was complicated by the fact that slavery was commonplace, with the Romans clearly occupying the master's position. So today as we continue in Paul's letter to them, you are invited to consider the question:
What did it mean to be enslaved then? What does it mean to be enslaved today? How do we arrive at healing from today's slavery and claim our inheritance?
Prayer: "Heavenly One, we are on the brink of that time when we celebrate the birth of your Son, who was born into the tradition of law, and adopts us into the family. May our hearts open to his Spirit. Amen."
Galatians 4:1-7 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
The question I asked yesterday was "What will you do with your freedom?" The answer that came almost immediately to my own mind was: "Not surrender it." By this rather confrontational response I believe that on some deep, gut level I recognize that slavery exists in very subtle ways. It can be slavery to substance abuse, to depression, to eating disorders, to indolence or procrastination. It can be overt and tangible such as the slavery which exists today in the awful world of human trafficking. Sadly, it can exist by means of domestic violence, homelessness, or economic injustice.
If we learn nothing else from Paul's letter to the Galatians, we should embrace the fact that God intends us to be healed from forces which prevent us from being anything less than his children, redeemed from oppressors external or internal, situational or sinful.
So reflect on the healing power of the Spirit who wants to enter our hearts, and make us part of the family. May this season truly become a time of joyful liberation for you, your family, friends and neighbors.
Prayer: "Holy Love, through the amazing intention and power of Jesus Christ, we call you 'Abba'! Father! Thank you for redeeming me and claiming me as your child. Amen."
Blessings to all my brothers and sisters!
For further reading:
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
2 Samuel 7:18-22