Loved the readings by some of Grace's kids in last Sunday's service. Sometimes a deeply profound thought slips past in the Sunday readings, some turn of phrase that deserves to be held up and listened to again.
For me, these were the final lines in Lila's reading from Galatians. Now most of the time Saint Paul will end a letter on some upbeat note. To the Romans, it was "to the only wise God be glory forever". To the Philippians he wrote the magnificent "the peace of God that passes all understanding..."
But at the end of Galatians, Paul is wrapping up a long argument with a group that encourages circumcision. Paul has had to argue this point in many other churches. He's said, over and over, that it's all about the love of God in our hearts and not about how our ephemeral bodies look. He's arguing against what we might call "anatomy-based theology". We also know that Paul himself is guilty of this in some of his writings, as well as in other writings later attributed to him. He's a tough figure.
And then we have it. The next-to-last sentence in Galatians reads "From now on, let no one make trouble for me, for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body."
Whoa. One of these epistles is not like the others. Our tireless friend has worked hard and paid his dues. He's exhorted, encouraged, pleaded the cause of redemption. He's been beaten up a few dozen times too many. And now he's sick of all the arguing, the "party divisions", the small focus from fellow believers. "From now on, let no one make trouble for me."
Pretty much all people have been on both the receiving and the giving end of trouble, in all honesty. Where do we go when this happens?
If we put it to the test, we find we have room at Grace. Grace Church is blessed to be a place where we step outside the us-and-them, the cliques of office or classroom, the pitifully small vision of the world. A family welcome, an upward and outward view, and a reasoned and faithful hope - these are what we find when we take our rest at Grace, and it really is grace. Thank you all for being part of the family.