by Norma Koehne
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Christ redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we may receive the promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:14).
One of the curses of our modern sinful world is ‘tribalism’. It has been a curse throughout the ages. This is where one group of people considers themselves superior to another group. It can lead to the other group being demonised and somehow regarded as less than human. The most terrible examples in modern times have been the Holocaust and the dreadful tribal massacres in Rwanda. The basis may be cultural, religious or political.
Paul shows us clearly here that as Christians, we are brothers and sisters with people of every tribe and culture, all part of God’s family. For the Jews in Paul’s day, this was hard to comprehend, as they had been God’s chosen people for centuries. To reassure them that the gospel was for all people, Paul goes back to the father of Israel, to Abraham, and to God’s promise to him that ‘All nations will be blessed through you’. From the beginning of time, God loved all his children and planned to bring them into his family through the salvatory work of Christ.
In our multicultural nations of Australia and New Zealand, we thank God for the many peoples of different cultures and languages who are becoming part of our church family. Let us welcome them sincerely as brothers and sisters in Christ, listening to them, learning from them, and together praising God that he has brought us all to faith in Christ.
This spirit of siblinghood is God’s will for his believing people. As Paul says, ‘He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we may receive the promise of the Spirit’.
God, give us your wisdom and understanding as we live together as your family. Give us tolerance and patience as we work together as your family to build your kingdom and share your love among each other and in our communities. Amen.
Norma grew up at Koonibba in SA. She was a teacher at Concordia College in SA and then served in various roles in Papua New Guinea with her husband. Returning to Australia, Norma worked as an International Student Advisor and, after completing a PhD, worked in administration at the University of Divinity. She has been privileged to serve the LCA on the General Church Council, Seminary Council, and as president of Lutheran Women of Victoria and Lutheran Women of Australia. Currently, she is happily retired.