The final week of a six-week series called Expanding the Table. Blessed Pentecost! In this episode, we continue exploring the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. In chapters 4 and 5, Paul continues to talk about law and gospel, what it means to be a Christian and he expounds on the concept that persons freed by Jesus Christ, as a response to the love and grace freely given by Jesus, are given the vocation to love one another. The response to God’s grace manifests in the fruit of the spirit that is love. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” He talks about how “4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” In Galatians, Paul discusses this love in terms of the fruit of the Spirit, the living breath of God given to all of us at Pentecost. This love encompasses joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. These characteristics are not separate from each other, but are intertwined. This love is what the Triune God desires for us and all of creation. It is why the Biblical writers called God, Yahweh, “Abba”, using the Aramaic word for “Daddy.” No matter what name for the Triune God expresses your experience and relationship, how do you live out and respond to God’s hope, love and grace in your life and in the lives of others, both neighbor, stranger, and to those whom you do not know or cannot name?
In this six-week series, we look at how the followers of Jesus after his crucifixion went from disciples to apostles. Jesus instructed them that they were to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. But this commission wasn't as easy as they anticipated. Conflict arose with the growing numbers of followers. They had to figure out how to be a gathered community of Jesus across the world. They had to discover what it means to expand the table. Being a follower of Jesus no longer meant that you came from a certain people, place, or nation.