This morning I felt compelled to expand upon my thoughts as I began a read through Galatians. Actually, I have delayed responding for some months, with a growing awareness that we might actually be in the midst of a global trans-formative move of God.
As I read of the early conversations of this post conversion Paul, so steeped in Judaism, I could only imagine the passion contained when he after three years, finally sat down with Peter. Of all the apostles, this man Peter had been through the works with Jesus. As well, he had delivered a post-Pentecost message that had so consumed young Stephen, that when he shared his faith, the religious crowd “gnashed on him with their teeth” eventually stoning him to death. Ironically, they lay their garments at the feet of a young Pharisee named Paul!
It’s easy to simply parrot what for a lifetime has been told us about God, without the expectation of a personal revelation of his being. This also seems strange to me, born and raised to believe in a personal relationship with this God who was Christ. It is odd that we hold so deeply to our faith, but when anyone expands upon that same faith, affording the possibility that God is not static, religious folk tend to recoil! If God “changes not” then why are these transformational moments so anchored in scripture? Perhaps what doesn’t change is His ever loving reach to all mankind regardless of their religion?
At least fifteen years seasoned into their new found faith, this letter to the Church of Galatia later challenges this same Peter for his political vacillation when before different audiences, Jew versus Gentile. I find myself tempted the same when I deal with “people of faith.”
It is becoming clear to me that God is up to something akin to a Bethlehem moment, when He actually took on flesh and dwelt among us; a “flag on the field” moment of sorts. Religion had so misrepresented God that He showed up in human form!
Here in America, we have continued to call ourselves Christians, and yet long after the Civil War, still resist full reconciliation to brothers and sisters shipped belly to belly in the bottom of ships! Yet, we continue to using terms like “God is love.”
Now, just as our pot is beginning to boil over, given the unheard of number of shootings involving white officers and black children, the Sovereign God seems curiously to add to that pot. Perhaps now doubling down on American Christianity, somewhat as He did Judaism.
It is apparent that the long forgotten seed of Hagar is coming to fruition. Is God now setting up a moment of grace for those overly steeped in Islam? I just read about the President of Indonesia (the world’s highest concentration of Muslims) recoiling at the travesty among radical Islam.1
Yes, buried in the scriptures we hold sacred is a promise that God would revisit these sons of Ishmael with a blessing not unlike that of Isaac. Technology, having exposed the abundant lifestyles of Americans to those long trapped in squalor, makes recruitment for violent acts in the name of religion appealing, when seasoned with promises of utopia beyond death.
What a moment for truth and love by believers in America. Not only need we address our own national sins, but fearlessly share the love that God has so manifested in Christ!
That would truly be a transformational moment !