Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 9: Year 2
Morning, Psalms 5 and 6; Evening, Psalms 10 and 11;
Numbers 35:1-3,9-15 and 30-34; Romans 8:31-39; Matthew 23:13-26
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor 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.” (Romans 8: 38 and 39)
This is such a powerful statement from Paul. And, while some of Paul’s rhetoric comes from his own somewhat vague personal understanding, there are moments like Corinthians 13: 1 – 13, and this one for today, that I believe come straight from God as made manifest in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s break it down. First of all, Paul is “convinced.” This means that his mind has been set, it is a revelation from God. This kind of revelation is from God and not only to Paul but to us today as well. And for all of us, once we know, we can’t “un-know.” We too are convinced.
Second, the love that God has for us overcomes all obstacles outside of ourselves. I say outside of ourselves because it will be our deliberate and stubborn refusal to listen and learn from our Lord Jesus that hinders us from following our life path, and eternal path, God has placed before each person.
I read once from a Russian priest that as we transition from this life to the next, as we all will, we begin our ascent to the divine. As we approach the purity of heaven whatever is amiss in us begins to diminish us. Whatever hate, or jealousy, or any unloving way we have about us will hinder us from our approach to God. God will not stop us. According to the priest, the toxic baggage we attempt to bring with us will reduce us and may completely eliminate us. So it is nothing outside of ourselves that will hinder us from the love of God. But any continued sinfulness within us will.
So where is the proof of such teachings shown in the faith and practices of those Russians today who wreak havoc on innocent Ukrainians today? Do they not know that the hate they hold today will be a stumbling block on their path to eternal life? This kind of evil is true for all of us.
It is therefore of the utmost importance then, that we work on ridding ourselves of all such maliciousness now, so that we will be unimpeded as we approach the throne. Nothing outside of ourselves in all creation will impede our journey to God. And nothing outside of us will separate us (whatever is left of us), from the love of God.
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