ONLINE REFLECTION, ST. PAUL’S, FOLEY – PROPER 12, YEAR A
JULY 26, 2020
TEXT: Romans 8:26-39
Today we observe Proper 12 in this season known as Ordinary Time, or the Season after Pentecost. Let’s begin with the Collect for the Day.
Collect of the Day – Proper 12
Looking back 2,000 years expecting to pin certain dates to certain events can be tricky. Scholars make their best guesses on dates various books of the Bible were written. Paul’s letters fall into that category. We can only make educated guesses as to when they were written – and in what order.
Paul traveled far and wide spreading the gospel he had come to know, in the days following that dramatic event on the road to Damascus. He went through many cities, preaching, planting churches, and sharing the good news. But keep in mind that traveling in that day was perilous, and being a Christian missionary added to that danger.
Paul knew the perils well. In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, he shared what he had endured:
11:24 Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters;[e] 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. 28 And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.
Paul was well aware of the dangers surrounding him. His life was in danger, constantly. Yet, he wrote the words that are our second lesson today. I consider the theological high point of the Christian scriptures and the foundation for all our hope. Hear a portion of them again:
8:37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is Paul’s astounding statement of faith, found in chapter 8 of his Letter to the Romans.
Nothing. NOTHING. Nothing that life throws at us will overwhelm the love of God. Paul’s words echo what page 298 in the Book of Common Prayer says about Baptism: The bond established by God in baptism is indissoluble.
As you face today’s challenges – whatever they may be – remember Paul’s words of hope – hope that nothing can overcome.