Thursday, June 12, 2008

Romans 5:1-11

Pentecost +5 – Year A

Romans 5:1-11

What begins as compassion might end as reconciliation. While there are many bumps along this road that can detour our journey to such a destination, reconciliation is contained within promises of healing and simply promises.

Compassion has its genesis in the midst of things gone wrong, promises delayed to the point of seeming impossibility. Here in a problematic zone we might see more clearly what needs to be rectified. One of these places of clarity is when facing an "enemy".

In such locations reconciliation both rises to a greater need to be experienced and costs the most to offer. Sometimes we find ourselves talking about the cost of sacrifice to come to a place of compassion and reconciliation. What we reflect on less is the cost of resurrection, a much deeper and expanded source of compassion and reconciliation. This resurrectional approach looks for a change not only in the one offered compassion and re-opened to a possibility of reconciliation, but a change in the one offering such gifts.

Here we are offered a new picture of the limits of sacrifice qua sacrifice – it doesn't make it to resurrection and so compassion is short-lived or soon-left in the face of fatigue or a next need that tugs at our heart. Resurrectional compassion allows us to stay and stay – like The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) stays long after the first wave of compassion-givers has come and gone to a next event.

This puts into play both a ranking of compassions (hard-wired humanity, sacrificial, and resurrectional) and a gift of compassion given on many levels (short-term emotion vs. longer-term intentionality, band-aids and systemic involvement).

May you boast well of your place in the keeping of promises made and the keeping-of-promises-made alive.

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