March 27, 2009

March 27

102, 107:1-32
Jer. 23:1-8
Rom. 8:28-39
John 6:52-59

Rom. 8:28-39
28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is such a rich passage that it was hard to decide where to look. The line that jumped out for me was Paul’s rhetorical question: “If God is for us, who is against us?” I think that speaks to our entire Lenten walk. Starting on Ash Wednesday we have been exploring the ways God loves us, wants to be in an intimate relationship with us, and in all things is on our side.

I am reminded of the hymn, Just a Closer Walk with Thee. The refrain calls us to an intimate walk with our Lord, trusting that God is there for us in all things.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

How do you feel when you hear that God is for us? When we are in the midst of some difficulty or tragedy, it is very easy to think that God has forgotten us. If you lose your job, or have a life threatening illness, or someone near and dear dies, or any multitude of other problems, you can feel adrift and bereft. It is then, however, that God is closest and paradoxically can be the times when we think God’s love is hardest to find. When we feel far from God, the road can be as long and dry as this one in northern NM. But just as God is closer than we know, this road actually leads to a lovely retreat center.
For your journal: Read through this entire passage (Rom. 8:28-39) a couple of times and in another translation or two, if you can. Listen to what God is saying to you through Paul. Copy the line in your journal. Sit quietly with it for a few minutes. Then write, draw, or find a poem or quote about what that special citation means to you and your ‘closer walk with God’.

A favorite poem of mine by Carla Holterman speaks to me about how I could live in the belief that God is on my side in all things and at all times.

Dear Lord,
Help me to live this day,
Quietly, easily
To lean upon thy great strength
Trustfully, restfully
To wait for the unfolding of thy will
Patiently, serenely
To meet others
Peacefully, joyfully
To face tomorrow
Confidently, courageously

No comments:

Post a Comment