Our two readings this week are unique -- one is the familiar story of Hagar. Remember, Hagar was the servant girl that Abraham takes as a wife, in order to produce a son, because Sarah was barren. Once Sarah does have a child, she rejects Hagar and Ishmael, and has Abraham send them away. Once their water gives out Hagar prays in the desert and God, hearing her, promises that a nation will grow from Ishmael and shows her a well with water, thus saving their lives.
One would think that this would be the last time we would see Hagar in scripture; but Paul uses Hagar for an allegorical lesson in his letter to the Galatians. He's teaching about the Law and grace, using a historical lesson and the culture of slave and free to illustrate being bound to the Law and being freed by grace.
The Galatians were struggling with keeping the Law but also having the freedom that grace brings.
What do we struggle with that binds us up, chains us to our old ways? What does grace release for us?
Think about these things this week. On Sunday we will Break Every Chain as we explore what we are capable of as recipients of God's Grace.