The Narrative Lectionary readings for the week are Acts 2:1-4 and Romans 8:18-38.

The commentary at Working Preacher is here and you can find the podcast nearby.

 

I’m sitting here looking at the blank screen.

I’m tired. Seemingly impossibly tired.

 

I’ve been advocating for Medicaid Expansion in my state and the answers that come back are worse than disregard for those on the margins. It is spite toward those who are working so hard to make ends meet, but are deemed unworthy of a social safety net.

 

I think of you, beloveds, also tired- in your own ways, with your own dragons that lift their heads once again. The sword sags. Sweet Jesus, literally, sweet Savior of the world, there is so much good in creation and even in people and yet… and yet… and yet…

Baltimore. Nepal. Syria. South Sudan. North Korea.

Women. Black men. Latinas. Trangendered individuals. People with autism.

Measles. Cancer. Ebola. Small pox. Fistulas. Chronic dehydration.

 

What can separate us from the love of God? What causes us to doubt our election, justification, and sanctification (much less our future glorification)? Where is the good that is promised to those who love God?

 

What does Paul, that scribbling fool, dare to write to Roman Christians? Christians to whom he will appeal for money and mission support, Christians who will watch their Jewish friends exiled from the city to outposts of the Empire, Christians who may never have seen Jerusalem- who only dare to imagine life outside the heavily perfumed air of the cult of the emperor. The Apostle breathes deep and asserts that the life they know is not always what God intends for them.

The crises they witness are not events doled out by a capricious god.

The pangs they endure are not tests of their faith.

The struggles with which they wrestle are not proof that they are not yet children of the living God.

 

Creation rebels. It is full of forces- spiritual, worldly, individual- that want the control, the power, and the abilities that belong only to God. This rebellion causes the brokenness of the world. It brings pain and disruption. It causes deep rifts that take generations to mend. It steals the breath of the too young and it cripples the hearts of the faithful elderly.

 

However, the shape of this rebellion- when and wherever it appears- cannot wrest from God what belongs to God and to God alone. It cannot change the shape of God’s love, compassion, and grace as revealed through Jesus the Christ.

On this Sunday, people don’t need to hear about the birthday of the church or about the gifts of languages or even the multiplicity of the body of Christ.

They need to know the reality of theodicy. That sh*t happens. And when it does, God is there, weeping and repairing- sending out power, redemption, and resurrection.

The struggles of the world are part of the rebellious nature of a creation that has yet to realize the fullness of its Creation. The truth of Pentecost is that we who have only just begun to trust and perceive the redemption of our bodies must learn to release our fear of something that CANNOT HAPPEN.

NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

 

If we allow the Spirit to confirm that truth within our anxious hearts, if we dare to trust in that harbor, if we base all our actions and plans on the idea that God’s rooting for us- we may well fail, but even failure can’t take away what God had birthed out of the depths of love.

 

Now, please excuse me. There are some people who need insurance. And I have the freedom and the peace to stand with them once again.

7 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary: Nothing Can Separate Us (Romans 8:18-31)

  1. My sermonic question is “how can we be the church?”. In the face of all that we see how can we be the Spirit-led community that proclaims the Kingdom of God?

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  2. This is my first time reading here. I particularly like the process theologizing which is evident here. The reference to creation groaning and the presence of God in Jesus Christ whose gift to us in the Spirit enables us to act as co-creators is impressive. Those suffering from HIV and AIDS must be added to the list of tired yet struggling pilgrims.

    It is in the struggle that the depth of God’s compassionate Being is exemplified. The struggle is not to be rejected; the injustice is. But struggle is a part of our praxis. It is entrenched in our Christian DNA; it is interwoven in our Black identity; it is a part of human existence. Unfortunately Blacks are always at the end where the struggle is meted out. And yet it is this which enriches our experience of and encounter of God.

    It was the Struggle which gave rise to the Haitians in 1791 declaring enough is enough and hence they rejected the injustice of French Roman-like governance. Similarly several others including those in Jamaica rebelled in the Christmas Rebellion–1831 Baptist War and full freedom was realized in 1838. Today the struggle continues. The groans are many. Even the computer is programmed as a apart of the fight. Spelling of words are changed to demonstrate control. S becomes Z and U are deleted from words to exploit even the very spelling of words.

    The struggle is real. But it is in the struggle that the love of God is greatest manifested and its potency is realised. For truly, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God which is encountered in Christ Jesus.

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