Friday 30 October 2009

Bible Book:

"For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh." (v.3)

Romans 9:1-5 Friday 30 October 2009


In this passage Paul wears his heart on his sleeve, and in someways the emblem he wears is a strange one. In his passionateenthusiasm for extending the Christian gospel (good news of Jesus)as widely as possible, even to Gentiles (non-Jews), Paul is stillnagged by thoughts of the Jewish community in which he was broughtup and which he was so determined to defend against the errors ofChristianity.

These few verses tell us of the sorrow he feels as he thinks of theglorious tradition in which his earlier life was shaped. He has nohesitation in celebrating that tradition in positive terms. Heleaves the emerging Christian tradition in no doubt of its debt toJudaism, despite all the difficulties that have arisen (already, inPaul's own time) between these two great faiths.

When we experience some momentous change in our lives we are oftentorn between remembering the past and 'moving on' into the future.We become a bit impatient with people who seem unable to move on,yet when we ourselves are caught in the toils of this paralysingcondition we understand how disabling it can be. In these fewverses Paul seems to be groping for a way of holding togetherreverence for the past, and eagerness to respond to the future. Godis rightly held in awe for the countless 'new things' that Goddoes. What is sometimes harder to hold in view is God's ability toweave past and present and future together into one picture,transcending the limitations of our time-bound humanity.

If we were travelling north on the East Coast main line, we are atany one moment in London, or in Grantham, or in York, or in Durham,or in Newcastle, or in Edinburgh - and not in any of the othergreat towns and cities through which our route lies. In Durham,London is only a distant memory; Edinburgh lies in another country.But for God, brooding in careful love over Durham does not implyneglect of London, nor does it suggest that Edinburgh is some waydown God's in tray.

To Ponder

How do you balance a proper concern with the taskbefore you with the wider issues of the world?

How can you cherish tradition while being eagerto move into a challenging future?

Our imagination is certainly limited, as is ourattention span. What can you do to let God open your eyes to widerhorizons, other perspectives?

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