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Proper 4

1 Kings 18.22–3, 41–3
Galatians 1.1–12
Luke 7.1–10

This opening section of Galatians has Paul in a very combative frame of mind. Even his formal greetings at the beginning are perfunctory and pointed. Something very dear to Paul is under threat here, and he is riding to its defence. Part of what he is defending is, of course, his own calling and mission. So within the first sentence of the letter, he is hammering home the fact that he is doing only what God has asked him to do. He has no agenda of his own to pursue, nor does he take orders from any ‘party’ in the church. His sending is directly from ‘Jesus Christ and God the Father’. There is also a faint undertone of personal hurt when he says, in verse 6, ‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you.’ These are people whom Paul himself has brought to faith in Christ, and he had believed that they would trust him and build on what he had taught them...

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