Thursday, August 8, 2013

The iotas and dots are swept away

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17

O you dear idiots of Galatia, who saw Jesus Christ the crucified so plainly, who has been casting a spell over you? I will ask you one simple question: did you receive the Spirit of God by trying to keep the Law or by believing the message of the Gospel? Surely you can’t be so idiotic as to think that a man begins his spiritual life in the Spirit and then completes it by reverting to outward observances? Has all your painful experience brought you nowhere? I simply cannot believe it of you! Does God, who gives you his Spirit and works miracles among you, do these things because you have obeyed the Law or because you have believed the Gospel? Ask yourselves that. Galatians 3

I had lots of quiet spaces this week.  Even though I was camping and hiking and repelling and initiating with twelve high school seniors with the sunshine and fog and rain and skunks of Mt. Lemmon.  

I wake up a lot earlier than high school seniors.

And I was piqued by the all caps titles running across the top of left-hand pages of the Bible I had grabbed off the Bible shelf.  A J. B. Phillips New Testament underlined and shaded in coloured pencils with comments by Mary Anne Voelkel very many years ago.  I love reading marked-up books.  It’s like a friend is sitting right next to me, sharing her heart in conversation.  Quite intimate.  

J. B. Phillips entitled the first chunk of Paul’s books, “Letters to young churches.” I thought it appropriate to soak in his counsel and experience; his hard-earned understandings that he longed to pass along to the next generation, as I weighed my responsibility to The Blue Bombers in guiding them into Student Leadership and the next steps of life.  So I read through Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians three times, with their eyes in my mind.

And there was a lot about being salt and light in a flavorless and dark world.  And it had nothing to do with being tied up in rules and regulations, and much to do about humility and grace.  And while we are not to indulge the flesh because it is a waste of all that God has given to us and brings nothing but disappointment, we are to live in the restoration, to stand fast in the liberty opened up to us as Christ fulfilled the Law, for now and evermore.  Amen.  

But by love serve one another.

Cameron’s songs floated through the rain-fresh pine trees under big puffy clouds  and with You make beautiful things out of dust still echoing in our hearts we knelt by a tumbling stream to wash one another’s feet, even as He knelt and washed the others’ feet. 

Just before the Law was accomplished. 

It is finished.