Thursday, February 14, 2008

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

Lent 2 – Year A

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

"Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised?", questions Paul.

Is "belovedness", then, announced only on the baptized, or also on the unbaptized?

Paul, here, makes the argument of prevenient grace – even before anything there is call and response. Later we can call this preference for universal salvation a question of faith, but before anything it is an experience – an experience of belovedness.

In our compartmentalized approach to a liturgical year we get caught with a tradition of Transfiguration ending Epiphany rather than beginning Lent. Once we get over the versification of the Bible or the liturgicalizing of a year, we are free to travel where the spirit leads, whether from Ur to the Negeb or from baiter of the Way to the legalizer of grace.

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In light of the conclusion of this passage regarding a G*D who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist – we were traveling Sunday and saw a billboard that said, in large letters, "Nothing is too difficult for God." A beloved traveler in the car saw said sign and remarked, "Yes, 'Nothing' is 'too difficult' for God." This insight is the impetus for creation – that "nothing" was "too difficult". God had to start making stuff (creation) because "nothing" was too difficult. [Are you grinning yet?]

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