Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Mission AD 19: Galatia

“As elsewhere in the empire, so in Galatia: there was peace and order where before there had always been war. The Galatians, for most of their existence, had been a people largely defined by their aptitude for violence. Three centuries before the death of Augustus, twenty thousand of them, migrants from distant Gaul, had swarmed across the straits from Europe into Asia Minor, a land celebrated for the wealth of its cities, the softness of its citizens, and the talents of its celebrity chefs. Here, in the central highlands of what is now Turkey, the Galatians had quickly carved out a new home for themselves. … Barren though Galatia was, it was ideally placed for launching raids on neighbouring kingdoms.”

So Holland begins his chapter on mission.

Well, who knew anything about the history of Galatia? Is it enough to be able to identify it on an ancient map? They were people with a history just as we have and those who we know only by name have, not just a random target of Paul’s ministry. 

He spins a tale of the three Galatian tribes, now living “in marble cities of the kind that their ancestors had delighted in raiding in a province dotted with Roman colonies where the common language was Greek. The title, Sebastenos, favoured by Augustus had been bestowed on them by Cesar himself.”

This chapter is called Mission because it describes the mission of Paul. What I think the book did for me is to take the mind of someone who has been introduced to Asia Minor purely by the scripture, (and a short visit to the place so I could find it on the map and identify some fauna and flora) and put real flesh to the characters that are described in the Bible.

He ends the chapter with a brief on John’s gospel: “So ended a gospel that had begun with the Word that was with God, and was God, at the moment of creation: beside a barbecue on the shores of a lake. Hope from despair; reconciliation from betrayal; healing from trauma.”

The remaining chapters outline a varied history of how the human story absorbed and transmitted this story to what we see in our culture and government today. I may get to a few more summaries. I found the chapters all increasingly interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment