Transforming Rules

Today’s scripture: Galatians 4:21-5:1 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Pam Beutler):

When we were young, our parents set out rules for us to follow. For me, being raised in downtown Chicago in the 50’s, my parents feared that I could be abducted or get hit by a car — so I could not cross from one city block to another without permission ’til I was 10. Another rule was not to drink coffee because it would stunt my growth. There were curfews on weekends, family rosary on Saturday and household chores. Rules were important in my youth, not as important as I grew, yet transforming as I took my part in society.

You find many rules in the Old Testament. Often uneducated and nomadic, Israel needed rules to keep an organized security not just for their souls, but also for their health and the structure of a mobile society.

Jesus came at a time to change many of these rules and add a new law — one of love and acceptance of all, something unfamiliar to a caste system in early Israel. Rules of Moses’ time no longer were needed in Jesus’ vision of a new society — a society where all are servants, rich or poor, taking care of everyone, letting no one go hungry or unclothed. God was always the focus — that had not changed — but how humanity related to each other and God did. God became our Father, and an intimate relationship was formed for all people, not a chosen few. God’s temple was open to men, women and children.

God’s promise has always been Eden for us. Every one in unison again — loving one another and the earth, as God created it, living in harmony with all God’s creatures. It is so easy to oppress to gain control. Love knows no boundaries and doesn’t seek to control — or does it? Were my parent’s rules without love? It was that structure that got me to where I am today. This is much like God the Father in the Old Testament. God’s rules were to get us to Jesus, the New Covenant, and a journey back to Eden.

Thought for the day: Rules are not to be broken but transformed.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.