Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Distracts Us From the Gospel?

The Daily Office readings continue with Paul’s letter to the Galatians which was written around 55 A.D. and is one of the earliest Christian writings.  You can tell from the tone in today’s selection that the Church in Galatia really gave Paul a hard time because these new Christians were being persuaded by others to add the observances of the Jewish law, including circumcision as a means of salvation. Since Paul’s visit to them, some other interpretation of Christianity had been brought to these neophytes, probably by converts to Christianity from Judaism (the name “Judaizers” is sometimes applied to them).

Paul gives them an ear full:

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’ But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, ‘Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal. 3:1-14).

Sometimes we unnecessarily add things to the Gospel; things that do not really matter, and that even distract us from the Gospel of Christ.  I am sure that you can come up with a few examples in your own life.  When I was a child, my family would always sit on the fifth pew, Gospel side of the church.  My grandmother was always the first one there to secure the spot.  She sat on the aisle.  If anyone got there before her on Sunday morning, the day would be ruined.  “How could one worship God on Sunday in the sixth pew or the fourth pew?  It was impossible!”  Sometimes we get distracted like the Galatians who were adding unnecessary things to the Gospel of Christ.  We are saved by Christ alone, not by works of the law, tassels, flowing robes or where we sit in church.

Let us pray:  O God of all the nations of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in your image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the prayers and labors of your holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship you as you have been revealed in your Son; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

PLEASE REMEMBER ESPECIALLY IN YOUR PRAYERS CORLIE JACKSON AND HER FAMILY.  Corlie’s father, Corrie Holloway, died unexpectedly this week.  Let us pray: Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your  servant Corrie. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of  your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your  own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy,  into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the  glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

GOSPEL BY THE SEA: Saturday, 9 June 2012, 6 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.  This benefits the ministry of St. Vincent’s House.

SAFEGUARDING GOD’S CHILDREN: Saturday, 23 June 2012at 10:00 a.m. Sutton Hall at St. Augustine’s.

ART HAPPENINGS


June 8th Friday night from 6:30 to 8:30, Adult class with wine, we will be making peace souvenirs for the September art show.

June 9th Saturday 10:00 to Noon: children and adult class, we will be working on a banner for the September art show.

June 24th Sunday, after breakfast we will have a very important meeting about the September art show along with a sign-up sheet. We have a list of all the things that we need to make this event a success; there is something for everyone even those who are not artist.

Our first Summer Children's Art Camp, every Saturday in July from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with snacks. There is a $10 supply charge per class. Ages 7 to 18. We will need adult volunteers that have had Safeguarding God's Children Training to assist. Space is limited so sign up ASAP.

        July 7: Signs and symbols found in all cultures, make your own sign

        July 14: Guardian Angels - guest artist Mary Ann Hasty, Native American

        July 21: Mandela's, African Shields

        July 28: Collage and the art of Mexico

STEVE POIRIER was just released from UTMB and has cancer. It is terminal. He has no family in Galveston.  He will need an inexpensive place to live and meals. His only income is Social Security. Please keep your ears and eyes open for a cheap, clean place to live.


INSTALLATION OF THE NEW RECTOR AT TRINITY: The Rev. Susan Kennard will be installed as Trinity’s new rector on Sunday, 1 July 2012 at 5 p.m.


PLEASE REMEMBER EVERYONE ON OUR PRAYER LIST, especially Cory Smith who is recovering from surgery, Steve Poirier, Patricia Robinson, Betty Robinson, Robert, Jerald Fight in Afghanistan, Frances Hardaway who suffered a stroke, all of those who are out of work and who are seeking employment.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

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