We continue this week with Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Text can be found here (including the verses we aren’t preaching from–just to see what we’re missing): Galatians 3:1-9, 23-29.
Commentary from Working Preacher is here.
I am fond of Cuyler Black’s cartoon about Paul and his letter to the Bergmans. It’s always a helpful reminder for me that Paul was writing an actual letter to actual people, and not just a theoretical exercise in theological exploration.
Our theology is grounded in our relationships and our experience.
While much of this passage may feel new to many in the pews, the ending of it (28-29) might be more familiar.
“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. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”
Where is the Spirit leading you this week? Are you connecting this passage to Ascension (or using the Ascension texts)?
I’m not actually preaching, because my baby is graduating from high school. In the congregation I serve, we have a number of people who are transgender worshiping with us, and so I especially note the “there is no longer male and female” line. I try to attend to the liturgical language we use in worship. We haven’t used exclusively male imagery for God or humanity in many years. I’m noticing, though, how the language of “male and female” or “brothers and sisters”, which is intended to be inclusive, somehow now feels exclusive. The English language has not caught up to our current reality. What language have you found helpful to include people who don’t identify as male or female, without removing language that also makes clear women are included too?
The language at the very end of “Abraham’s offspring (or seed)” is more inclusive, in some ways. As long as people feel that they are part of the family. When a stranger tries to call me “sister”, it raises all my hackles. When a good friend claims me as a sister, it warms the cockles of my heart. Does our family language, which is so important to Paul, ring true in our communities of faith?
Marci Auld Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood and the Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book,There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).
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