Wednesday, May 19, 2010


We spent our final evening reading through Galatians in our community group last night. For nine months or so we've been reading Galatians in its entirety every several weeks and discussing, and every time it's still fresh.

I don't think I've ever been part of a group that read such lengths of Scripture together, and the experience has been quietly stunning. When taking one verse or passage at a time it's easy to place overwhelming importance on each sentence as if it were a stand-alone proverb. You're left with an overwhelming number of individual bits of information and ideas and stories and theology to hold together in our minds. When reading Scripture in a more lengthy format, a bigger picture emerges. It's more clear which pieces of information are supporting and expanding on a larger concept, strengthening an overall understanding of God's designs and purposes and desires for us. The central convictions emerge easily.

The metaphor floating around in my mind is of the Bible as recipe book. There are a lot of short, individual recipes that important to experiment with in the kitchen. But the overwhelming purpose of the cookbook is not completing the recipes well but hospitality, deeper connection, family bonding. To have a full kitchen life one needs recipes, of course, and a familiarity with details of cooking processes, but the point of spending time cooking is its role in the building of loving relationships.

Just as the overarching point of Galatians is to persuade us that God's boundless grace sets us free from both a bondage to the law and a bondage to sin, leaving us open to express an non-defensive, non-reactionary, non-guilt-induced, non-coerced, non-puffed-up love. What an exciting, amazing, motivating, blank-page gift to have!

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