Thursday, December 20, 2007

Romans 1:1-7

Advent 4 – Year A

Romans 1:1-7

It is very easy to turn "according to the flesh" and "according to the spirit of holiness" into a dualism, pitted against each other, separated. This makes it easy to claim that I am flesh and Jesus is holy. It becomes equally easy, after identifying with Jesus, to claim that I am holy and you are but flesh. It's not long before this way leads to doctrinal, theoretical, philosophical litmus tests. Those who pass are holy, those who don't, aren't.

It is helpful to remember just a verse later that we have "received grace and apostleship" – both. We are holy, graced, and enact our apostleship in our flesh. I wish the word "and" was capitalized, italicized, and bolded to help us better relate our being true flesh and true holiness, just as we claim Jesus to mysteriously be fully human and fully divine.

During this advent time we still have a little time to carry our receiving of grace and apostleship into disciplines of faith. It is not so much, here, that these disciplines are memorized, no matter how heartfelt, beliefs, but the actual enactment of life-giving actions for ourselves, others, and G*D. Don't just stand there believing, do something.

As we approach these final days of advent we might pause to consider what we have learned these past weeks, what we have practiced, where our growth edges are, and what we need to continue working on.

The celebrations of Christmas will come and go, perhaps lasting as long as 12 days; the practices of Advent will continue beyond what we can yet see. Thankfully we begin our year with advent and not Christmas. By this time next year we can expect to see some changes in our living because of something we instituted in these few four weeks. Blessings upon your deciding to be different, your practice to be the needed change in your setting, and your evaluation of your advent work as you progress through the year.

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