Archive for June 16th, 2006

There’s Hope for Me Yet

Friday, June 16th, 2006

Please read Galatians 5:7-15, (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Jenni Clarkson):

Well, this controversial little ditty from the apostle Paul is known in one of our Discipleship classes as the “castration passage.” In the NRSV, verse 12 very plainly states, “I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!” It can, in fact, be a bit unsettling to be reading along in your Bible and come across that. Harsh doesn’t begin to cover it. To say that Paul was angry; well, that hardly covers it either. Then Paul has the nerve to say in verse 14, “…the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Paul, Paul, Paul, aren’t you being a little hypocritical here? Good grief, man, first you say these particular neighbors should castrate themselves, and then you say to us we should love our neighbors!

I find this to be an annoyingly difficult passage. Still, somehow I find it comforting. If the apostle Paul can go on a rant like that and still be “the apostle” Paul, then maybe there’s hope for me yet. If God can work through hot-headed Paul, surely God can also work through me.

I believe that the Scriptures are God-inspired. Still, God chose to work through human beings. I marvel at that. It amazes me how God works through faltering, stumbling, hot-headed humans to act out God’s will. Then I turn the pages over to Philippians to read my favorite words from Paul. It makes me smile to think that the same man who wrote the “castration passage” also wrote these words, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4-7)

Thought for the day: God can work through me, even me.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: Vacation Bible School, which begins on June 19! Pray that God will work in many lives through this outreach.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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