St. John’s EBCs, Everyday Bible Conversations!
For the week leading to worship, Sunday, May 9th.
This week’s Theme: Being a Welcoming You
Reading: Galatians 1:13-17; 2:11-21
Summary of the Reading
This week’s reading continues to explore the early Christian church’s debate between Jewish law and faith in Christ, particularly as those competing tenets tended to exclude or include non-Jewish Christians. In these verses, we learn that Peter had been eating with the Gentiles (meaning, in this context non-Jewish Christians), but when other Jewish Christians visited Peter, he stopped eating with the Gentiles “for fear of the [Jewish law-abiding] faction.” Paul called out Peter to his face as a hypocrite. As Paul explained, the truth of the Gospel is that Jesus came to save Jews and Gentiles alike, and neither is saved by their own works. We are all sinners. Pretending that we can be saved by our own perfect adherence to law is wrong in two ways: First, we will fail, since we are by nature sinners. And second, we deny the very point of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, if we imagine we don’t need God’s redeeming Grace.
A Joyful Action Question:
How do you welcome strangers, or those different from yourself? Do you try to speak their language? Do you show interest in their culture, or their desires? Do you try to teach them something about yourself? Where do you draw the line between being an accommodating, receptive, welcoming person of faith, on the one hand, and being less than true to your core beliefs, on the other? Does it help you to know that early Christians struggled this same way?
An Everyday Question:
Peter’s hypocritical treatment of Gentiles – both welcoming them and then shunning them – evokes almost school lunchroom behavior. Have you ever found yourself acting differently to someone based upon who else was watching? Were you afraid that by accepting or welcoming some people, you would be judged by others? How do you handle the tension when your friends’ or family’s norms conflict with your behavior toward other friends, or strangers?
An Action Step:
Look for a time this week where you find yourself acting or behaving one way around some people, and differently among others. Which is the “real” you God intended? Be that person!
Don’t like these questions? Do these verses say something different to you? Great! What it is?
Find a friend (or two or many) and take an EBC coffee break! Find 15-25 minutes somewhere in the week and come to share or just listen and enjoy (virtual) company. Have fun finding God this week in your Everyday Life!