Sermon Synopsis Galatians 1:11-24

I remember speaking to a close friend about his addiction to smoking. He responded that he wasn’t really addicted as he had quit smoking hundreds of times…

My addiction is food. I am self-aware enough to understand its origins. It has always been a source of comfort to me. When my sister was pounding on the bathroom door begging our Mother not to kill herself nothing would make the angst of those memories fade like a pan of Grandma’s cinnamon rolls; covered with caramelized brown sugar and butter still warm from the oven… food became a drug of sorts that soothed my emotions and… just made me feel good.

When I was younger and more active I was blessed with a physiology that allowed me to escape much of the consequences of my drug of choice. Sadly, that is no longer the case. For several years I have lost pounds and inches only to regain them with stressful eating habits. My gravestone should be engraved with the quote, “Here lie the cremains of Rev Dan. He finally made it back to his birth weight!”

Diane and I just completed a 28 day Fit Body Boot camp challenge that involved nutritional and physical disciplines. I am happy to say that I have been able to take clothes out of my closet and wear them for the first time in many months. Diane has bought some new things. She does not have my “Goodwill” sense of style. We are continuing to make time to exercise and eat a more healthy diet but I have come to realize that in order to affect my behavior the change must take place internally.

In our passage the Apostle Paul reflects on this theme of internal change. He describes how he had risen to the pinnacle of his culture as a Pharisee and had actively tried to destroy the Christian church. He traveled from Jerusalem to Damascus with written authority to find and imprison those who followed Christ. Then he had a revelation that literally struck him temporarily blind. Those who accompanied him described something like a strike of lightning but Saul (who later changed his name to Paul) experienced a vision in which he was called by Jesus to bring the Good News to those who had previously been outcast by the church… but he had to make an internal change to initiate his transformation into an Apostle for Christ.

There is a message here for the church about whom we are called to serve. Paul’s previous bigotry is transformed into love for those outside his cultural norms. How many of us in the church are caught up in pious judgment of those who are different from ourselves; in their dress, lifestyle or politics. I am speaking to the graduates today but this message is relevant to us all. No matter how prestigious the institution we attended or the number of letters which follow our name… true education takes place within ourselves. All of the facts and figures we surround ourselves with should only help us realize how little we truly know.

When you face the challenges of life and you struggle with either insecurities or ego the only path to true success is that which takes place within yourself. Faith, hope, love… these are the lenses to see the world through. This is the new vision that Paul is proclaiming.

Warmly,

Rev Dan