Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 6; Year 2
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1 – 7)
Wow! Paul: What an intro! I need to break this down in order to digest it. First of all, I do believe Paul was called to be an apostle of the Gospel of God. That whole experience on the road to Damascus was proof of that. I also believe that the prophets of the Hebrew Testament foretold of the coming of the Messiah, the Lord, our Lord Jesus, who was raised according to the human household code of David but sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God by which he survived death and that self-same Holy Spirit is with us today in us as the Spirit of God.
It is through the risen Lord that we receive grace and apostleship and all we will ever need to bring about the obedience of faith among all the inhabitants of earth. This obedience of faith is a slow process by human understanding but it is the work we are called to do nonetheless. You and I must keep the faith no matter what. And so Paul dubs us as saints. Therefore, “Grace to us and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This call that God has on us brings us out of death into everlasting life. For our part we must have faith, we must believe. Faith is the handle by which heaven grabs us and brings us before the Holy Presence of God. Even Paul will say later there is no difference between Jew and Greek or any other walk of human life. All of us are products of God’s unending love and have the invitation through faith to continue to be with God after this life. Our faith secures our final destination.
When we get to the Great Beyond we will see that there is no difference between Ukrainians and Russians. Russians should live that way now. Their faith in the loving inclusiveness of God will pave the way for their entry into the everlasting. If they refuse to let the love of God work through them then they have no heaven handles, and they are not picked up. In this way, the Ukrainians win the most important battle, the battle of life everlasting. It’s not too late for any of us to repent.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John