Monday, July 23, 2012

Carpe Diem, The Extraordinary Life (1): The Fullness of Time

The audio file is from the abbreviated version during the Operation Overboard Vacation Bible School program. Focus text: Galatians 4.4-7

Intro:
The Dead Poets Society, "carpe diem", "seize the day"
"Make your lives extraordinary" (Mr. Keating/Robin Williams)

Carpe Diem, The Extraordinary Life, our relationship with Time, series, message titles:
Telling Time & Punching the Clock
One Thing
I’ve Got Rhythm
When Time Stands Still

Vacation Bible School stories:
Noah built an ark
a slave girl dared to care and led her master on the journey of healing
John became a wilderness saint and baptizer
the disciples went fishing with Jesus and discovered that he is Lord of all
the apostle Paul lived and taught trust in the storm

Galatians 4.4-7, structural outline:
But when (hote de) the fullness of time had come,
God sent (exapesteilen ho theos) his Son
(a) born of a woman

(b) born under the law (hupo nomon)
(b’) in order (hina) to redeem those who were hupo nomon
(a’) in order that (hina) we might receive adoption as sons (children)

Because (hoti de, slightly different from above) you are sons (children)
God sent (exapesteilen ho theos) the Spirit of his Son
(a) into our hearts crying "Abba! Father!"
(b’) so you are no longer a slave but a child
(b) and if a child, then also an heir through God.
Note: By using the Greek word "sons" rather than "children", the apostle Paul included both female and male under the family role and inheritance rights that were – in the legal tradition of his time – only for sons. A remarkable statement of gender equality in the church, long before the movements of the modern era!


Fullness of Time – an expression for ripeness, completeness, the perfect moment. Occurs twice in the NT/LXX, here and in Eph 1.10, both in reference to the salvation accomplished for us in Jesus Christ. In Eph, it is paired with another expression of time, "the foundation of the world", as the end and the beginning, the fullness and the fulfillment of the arc of history. In the language of physics and science fiction, the "fullness of time" is a "singularity", a pregnant moment that focuses all that comes before and defines all that follows. Think of an hourglass, and that narrow tube in the middle – the singularity. It is the pregnant moment that God seizes for our salvation. Carpe diem! And God seizes that moment, God takes the initiative, to make our lives extraordinary. In the fullness of time, God sent his Son . . . God sent the Spirit of his Son.

To Redeem – But what does it mean that God desires to make our lives extraordinary? We hear it in the phrase, "in order to redeem". The term "redeem" (exagoradzo) comes from the root for "market place" and the imagery is the slave market. But, in this case, we are purchased (redeemed) not to be slaves but to be family, to receive adoption. "You are no longer slaves but children, and heirs." This is truly extraordinary! There is no greater change in social status that I can imagine!

Ana and Danny running away from the orphanage, toward adoption
God has already seized the moment to redeem us from slavery and to offer us adoption, a place in the family. Now, it is our turn to seize the day, to become extraordinary – by saying YES to this incredible gift.

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