Friday, 19 September 2014
Galatians 3:6-14: Freedom and Superstition
We are all bewitched, or at least superstitious. We live as if we are under a curse.
When I lose my favorite jacket, I don’t just retrace my steps to try to find it, I think, “Oh no, here we go again.” My phone disappears next. While frantically searching every possible hiding place, the thought comes, “These things always happen in threes.” My car keys are the final disappearing act, but I’m strangely calm as I look for them, feeling certain that the curse is now broken.
Do you ever knock on wood, avoid walking under a ladder, or cross your fingers?
Once I started noticing superstitious behavior, it seemed like it was all over the place. Even among believers, often involving religious activities. If I haven’t had my quiet time, it’s going to be a bad day. A secular friend picks that day to “pop the gospel question.” How can I witness to her when I haven’t even prayed today or read my Bible? So the next day I make up for it by taking twice the time I normally do for these spiritual exercises. There. Bring it on. I’m all prayed up.
Relying on the law. When I rely on my obedience to earn blessing, I am relying on the law. No wonder I feel jinxed. The standard of the law is perfection. Blessing only comes to those who are perfect, who never mess up. You can’t go back and fix it. A double long quiet time doesn’t take the place of a missed quiet time. Not perfect.
Some of the laws I live by aren’t found in the Bible. Each brings its own type of curse to those who fail it. There’s the law of remembering birthdays. The law of faithful parenting. The law of simply “doing my best.” How do I measure that in a way that lets me off the hook?
Relying on the law, any law, for blessing will only bring a curse. No wonder I act superstitious. I’m ducking curses all over the place.
The curse finds its target. Whoosh! There goes another one, I think, looking up to see where it landed. Some poor guy hanging from a tree. He must have really messed up. Curses have battered him bloody. Clothes in tatters, hands hanging limp, is he even alive? A moan floats through the air. I come nearer to hear, gasp when I see him up close. He barely looks human. In fact he looks more like a curse than a man. At that moment he opens his eyes and looks right into mine. Love, focused love, without reproach. That curse was meant for me.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come…
…to you…to me. See your curse land on him today, then run to the empty tomb and stand in the torrent of blessing God is pouring through Jesus to all who trust him.