Three ways of embracing change
June 5 – Revelation – Gal. 1v11-24
June 12 – Achieving Outcomes Worth Celebrating – Gal. 5v13-18,22-26
June 19 – Being Open to: The Situation, The Holy Spirit, Unlikely Allies, A Deeper Faith – Gal. 3v23-29
The people of Galatia were Celts. Remnants of Celtic culture still exist today in parts of Britain, Ireland and Europe. Three Celtic characteristics are part of the background of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
- Their respect for law. Paul spends a major part of his letter discussing law and the relationship between law and faith. The problem he faced was the idea that being a Christian was an ‘add on’ to being a Jew and therefore Jewish law had to be obeyed by Christians, meaning that male converts should be circumcised. This issue will be recast as a contemporary issue and discussed on June 5.
- Their ancient Celtic religious practices and festivals, were celebrated to maximise future benefits. This too will be put into today’s context and discussed on June 12.
- Their egalitarian ideals. Celtic women fought alongside their men in battle and were feared warriors. Paul uses this freedom from stereotypical behaviour to wrap up his discussion of the law. The sermon series will use it on June 19 to wrap up the series and be Paul’s primary and secondary emphases together
The Present-day Context
This sermon series is about embracing major change rather than the everyday change inevitable with the passing of time. These latter changes are usually embraced, sometimes wryly, with a grizzle or two and perhaps a wistful looking back to ‘the good old days.’ Major changes, like losing a loved one, moving house or retirement or redundancy are more like the kind of change these sermons are addressing. Sometimes the change is broader and undefined. We say, “What is the world coming to?” Or, “What kind of world will our grandchildren inherit?” It is this kind of change, along with the question, “How should I respond?” that the sermons will try to touch.
In particular, the church is facing a change in public opinion. Numbers are dwindling and churches are closing. How can this change be embraced? What is God calling us to do in response?
Robin Trebilcock is a retired Uniting Church minister with over fifty years’ experience of biblical preaching. He has an interest in Celtic Christianity stemming from his own Cornish Celtic roots. His understanding of change developed as a response to his own dislike of change and therefore his need to come to terms with it.