Hey all, thanks for your patience in this one coming a day late, except for those that were able to read with us live last night! Now you get a day off, haha. The first time I tried recording this my software had a bug that didn't capture audio so that pushed back my timing a little bit. In any case, we're all good now.
This brings us to final words of Romans. Romans is a fantastic book that clearly was a labor of love and through a lifetime of pastoral experience from Paul. The words of Romans are timeless and much of it applies to struggles we have even today. But, Romans does not end in despair but in hope and I pray that is something we can emulate in our own lives.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What is the primary 'point' of the book of Romans?
What about this feels applicable to today? What does it call me to do in response?
Does this impact my understanding or belief in God in anyway? How so?
- Commentary -
There is much to be said about this reading but to do so we must read between the lines and know some information that is not clearly spelled out. In that final section when Paul is offering greetings to all of his friends two things are not clear but a boon to the church nonetheless. First, half of those names are women and Paul describes them as "co-workers". It's other situation where Paul is validating a woman's leadership in the church. Secondly, half of those names are people to whom Paul disagrees with theologically and whom we would consider an "enemy" of Paul. Paul, modeling the love of Christ to love neighbor and enemy is attempting to build bridges with this letter. In other words, he is attempting to be bi-partisan in his approach. Romans calls the church to focus on the core beliefs that Jesus taught - mercy, forgiveness, compassion, selflessness, generosity, etc and not the smaller unique things that each culture differs on. When Paul speaks about "divisive leaders" he is referring to religious teachers that will not move from their positions on what they believe. For example, a gentile who refuses to eat with a Jew or vise versa. Or in the context of today - an ultra liberal church or a ultra conservative church who would not welcome the other side or actively admonishes their beliefs. For Paul, he thinks this fails to be Christ like and argues that leaders or churches that do this are fulfilling their own desires rather than the unity that Christ calls for. It's a fine line to walk in todays age for certain, but nevertheless a necessary one for the future of the church.
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 300 in our hymnal - O the Lamb. I invite you to join in praying aloud in song or meditation on its words. (Personally - I adore this song. It's been on repeat all day.)
O the lamb, the loving lamb, the lamb of Calvary!
The lamb that was slain, yet lives again to intercede for me!