Daily Reflection: ABC’s of Religion | Galatians 4:9-11
So how can you now turn back to things again – as if this were a weak and pathetic performance, from the top, of “Back to School: The ABC’s of Religion” all over again!? Been there, done that, people! You really want to put that show back on again? But there you go, with all your religious lines memorized and all the props in place – with a full calendar of performances cycling endlessly through all those religiously observed days and months and seasons and years, yada yada yada, blah blah blah. I’m afraid I’ve wasted all my time trying to get you out of the theatre and onto the streets! into life! Galatians 4:9-11 | MAV
A really bad musical that never ends. That’s the image that struck me as I mused through this section of Galatians. Those who don’t like musicals, period, would say “bad” and “that never ends” are redundant when associated with “musical” – which means this metaphor will work all the better. Religion at its typical and worst is a stage production, with lines to memorize, rehearsals to perform, deadlines to meet, a director to please, and hopefully lots of recognition and applause. The Galatians had been caught up in the sideshow musical of a pagan religious production, wrapped up in Stromboli’s strings like so many Pinocchios – until the day Paul walked on the stage like the Pied Piper and sang a different tune of Good News, grace and Jesus. They left that theatre and breathed the free air in the streets and byways of God’s love in Christ. And now they’re back on stage again in what no doubt appeared to be a better, truly divine musical. But in reality they had only traded the open streets of freedom in Christ for another religious stage performance, this time a Jewish one. We, of course, all too often opt for a Christian one. Jesus, ever pursuing, continues to show up on whatever stage we occupy. “Are you tired of performing? Are you ready to be released from the strings? Are you ready to meet me under Nathanael’s fig tree, and through that quiet place step out into Life on the wide open streets of this world?”
How is it possible for Christianity itself to become just another religious musical stage production? How can we keep it real and “on the streets”?
Jesus, thank you for always showing up on the stage of life and drawing me away from all shallow stage productions into Life. Keep showing up like that, each time I’m sucked back into the shackles of production and performance. Let me hear your song today. And give me the courage to dance to it in the streets of my life.
As suggested in Sunday’s teaching, you can read and reflect each day this week on our new identity in Christ as set forth by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1 (particularly verses 3-14).
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.