CAPC Oakland

News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland

Blogging Towards Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bulletin Cover Picture 82513

Galatians 5:1, 13-26 

Now days it seems like freedom is not usually associated by the secular world with religion.  Between radical fundamentalist terrorists who give their life for a promise, to strict moral teachings, from compulsory attendance to dogmas, many people would ask how freedom relates to belief in a higher being.  Galatians was a letter of pastoral advice written by the Apostle Paul to the church communities of the ancient area called Galatia in the Roman Empire (today we’d call it southern Turkey).


Paul is angry and doesn’t hide it.  In the early life of the Church there was great tension along religious, cultural and ethnic lines.  Jesus was a Jew, the best Jew according to his followers. But those who followed him came to be called “the people of the Way,” and later Christians.  So two divergent opinions arose about  what it meant to be a Christian:  one was that to follow Jesus you had to first become a  Jews (meaning to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses), the second opinion was that you didn’t need that step, you could go from being a pagan, or non-Jew, to a Christian merely by confessing that Jesus was your teacher and master (and so you wouldn’t be circumcised or follow the Laws of Moses).  This debate seems foreign and insubstantial to us, yet the question remains today what kind of life do you have to live if you follow Jesus?


Paul writes about freedom – that freedom is following Christ, that freedom is found in knowing Christ, that freedom can only be known in following Christ, that freedom is a gift, not earned or deserved, but simply received.  The Galatians have received the Spirit of God not because of their ethnicity, religious background, cultural identity or spiritual pedigree, it’s because of they have received the gospel in faith.


This receiving is related to gifts, Paul uses fruit – the fruits of the Spirit – as an example.  How does fruit grow?  How do you produce much fruit on a tree or in a garden?  How do you stunt such production?


Questions for reflection:

  • What strikes you in these readings?  What is Paul saying to the people of Galatia then?  What is Paul saying to us today?
  • What do you think about freedom and faith.  Does faith free you for something, or from something, or to something?
  • What keeps you from living into and from the freedom that we know in Christ?

About capcoakland

We are a community of faith seeking to live God's will together: that space where the passions of our hearts and the needs of the world meet in our context of Berkeley, Oakland and Piedmont. Our perspective is based from a Christian center, open to the mystery of God's presence in our world. Our core values are celebration, community & prayer. This blog is our avenue for program updates and information.

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This entry was posted on August 22, 2013 by in Grow and tagged .
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