Thursday, March 05, 2009

Romans 4:13-25

Lent 2 – Year B

Romans 4:13-25

So many promises yet to be fulfilled and so little time, seemingly.

In the in-between-time of promises you are holding on to and their fulfillment are two key understandings. First that our engagement with our basic promise-base is active. There is no suggestion that G*D messed around with Sarah in the same way Mary has been talked about. Apparently Abraham and Sarah were still participating in coitus at 99 and, hopefully, enjoying it. Having made themselves available for a child, even against all known odds, is active faith (as well as fun). May you keep up with your promises by putting yourself in a position to catch them when they come by – and don't forget that active faith is fun.

Second, this interesting phrase of "hoping against hope". In the Hymn/Poem we now know as Jesus, Lover of My Soul there is a verse left out of the current UMHymnal. See what you think about how returning that verse and its hope against hope might change the hymn and your life.

In Temptation by Charles Wesley

Jesus, lover of my soul,
  Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
  While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Savior, hide
  Till the storm of life is past,
Safe into the haven guide,
  O, receive my soul at last!

Other refuge have I none,
  Hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
  Still support and comfort me:
All my trust on thee is stayed,
  All my help from thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
  With the shadow of thy wing.

Wilt thou not regard my call?
  Wilt thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall!
  Lo! on thee I cast my care!
Reach me out thy gracious hand
  While I of thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand,
  Dying, and behold I live!

Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
  More than all in thee I find:
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
  Heal the sick and lead the blind!
Just and holy is thy name;
  I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am,
  Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with thee is found,
  Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
  Make and keep me pure within:
Thou of life the fountain art;
  Freely let me take of thee,
Spring thou up within my heart,
  Rise to all eternity!

Secondary to this second point, Hope can be easily spoken of and that kind of hope is more of a wishful thinking. I hope against this kind of hope. Hope that is bone-deep is helpful to rub up against and is more against me than I against it. If it is a honing contest, I will be sharpened by this deep hope and made dull by the wishful stuff. Depending on orientation, hoping against hope is mysterious or exactly what is needed.

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