Daily Office Readings for Wednesday Proper 5: Year 2
Morning, Psalm 72; Evening, Psalm 119:73 to 96;
Ecclesiastes 9:11 to 18; Galatians, 5:1 to 15; Matthew 16:1 to 12:
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith workingthrough love.” (Galatians 5:6)
We have already seen in Chapter 3 of Galatians that “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus,” (Galatians 3:28). Paul continues now challenging their sacred religious traditions of circumcision. Faith working through love means everything. What we do to our bodies has little to do with our heavenly value. Today we can get our bodies tattooed, pierced, tucked and “Botoxed” and while it may impress certain human interest they have no value in the next life. And I also feel such practices don’t devalue our bodies either. They are all forms of art, personal art.
My own personal observation is that once circumcision is of no importance, women become equal recipient of God’s grace in human eyes. Women have always been equal recipients of God’s grace in God’s eyes.
What counts in the next life, and what will get us to the next life, is belief in God and love for our fellow human beings. Our little body of practices here mean nothing. When we live by a code of faith in the love of God and truly believe that God is overseeing what we are doing, and that God is good, all the time, we will live a life of love for all people. And the truth is, we will love them even if they ink themselves, pierce themselves, tuck themselves and/or “Botox” themselves. In God’s love we will overlook their (and our) little makeovers and love them for who God made them to be with God’s indelible Word stamped forever on their hearts; even if they are unawares.
I also want to point out that all of us, Ukrainians, Russians, Americans and all “ans,” are national titles that we give ourselves. The only concern I believe God has is that some nation on earth becomes, and remains, a beacon for love, liberty and the pursuit of justice and happiness. I hope and pray we are that beacon. And I pray other nations will see our light and emulate us. While we still have problems with gun violence, racism, sexism and other isms attached to our “ans,” I pray that as individuals we each work to make ourselves better. By doing so, we become a better family, community, state, country and beacn.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John