Blogging Towards Sunday, July 17, 2011
Chosen by our guest preacher Rev. Nancy Walters, formerly on staff at the Westminster House Ministry at Cal Berkeley, this portion of Romans is among the climactic words of this pastoral letter. Paul has been writing to the church in Rome, explaining faith in Jesus as the Christ. He’s articulated how the death of one man – Jesus – can bring life to all humanity – US! Paul has tied faith in Christ into the historic Jewish faith in Jehovah lifted up in the story of Abraham and Sarah’s radical journey from nowhere to where God wanted them to be.
Faith isn’t merely historical, it’s not merely a moral compass for our lives. It is life itself, a new way of being, of being with others and of being with God. Paul in Romans 8 writes of a new life that we know through the presence and inheritance of God’s Spirit among and in us. It’s not just genetic or given to a particular people or ethnic tribe, God’s presence is freely given, actively present, grace-fully loving us and winning us towards love. Paul ends his development of this vision of how life, faith and love are indistinguishable with this ecstatic proclamation of how much God loves us. Hauntingly beautiful, philosophically challenging, it’s a radical reminder of the hope that we have in the love of God that we know in Jesus – not just in ancient Palestine, but here, now, today in the urban jungle and metropolitan mix of the East Bay.
· What word, image or phrase in this passage grabs your attention?
· How does that word, image or phrase touch your life and what you’re living or wrestling with these days?
· How do you hear the Spirit of God inviting you – or us as a church – to act, speak or be through this passage?
· How do you struggle to believe, accept or acknowledge God’s love for you?
· How has this conquering love healed or transformed you? How do you need God to liberate you today from the things that can separate you from that love?