This week’s appointed text from the epistle is the closing words of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. The words speak of hope and mystery; of revelation and faith.
May they strengthen us and bless us this day that we might go out and encourage and bless others.
Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith-to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
There is strengthening available for those as they encounter the gospel.
- Perhaps we feel weak from despair.
- Perhaps we feel listless from apathetic boredom.
- Perhaps we feel tapped out from too many promises that didn’t bear out.
- Perhaps we feel unable to grasp on to anything of depth and merit and truth.
There is good news (gospel) for us who need strengthening.
We need not despair. There is hope and future and a calling for us through the good news of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s love. There is no sin so great that God cannot forgive us. There is nothing we can do to get God to disown us. Despair should not win the day.
We need not drown in boredom. There is mystery and revelation to be had. Secrets kept over the ages are being revealed to all—including us Gentiles. God has commanded these mysteries and secrets to be made known. There is no way we should be able to remain trapped in boredom. Monotony should not win the day.
We need not get jaded by promises that didn’t bear out. God’s promises are coming to fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The prophetic writings are fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry. The promises that we are neither lost nor forsaken are borne out in the life of Jesus. The promises of resurrection and restored life are borne out in the suffering on the cross and the empty tomb. There is no promise of God that isn’t answered resolutely in the affirmative in the life and ministry of Jesus. Broken promises should not win the day.
We need not fear when things seem unsure. We might reach out for a firm handhold during uncertain time. We need not fear that there is nothing to latch onto. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and into all eternity. Jesus’ words are sure and his mercies reliable. When we latch onto the things of Jesus we find depth and worth and truth. There is a reliable rock to cling to during the raging storms. Chaotic weather should not win the day.
God, give us strength through the gospel of Jesus. Give us hope. Give us enthusiastic curiosity. Give us sure words. Give us refuge in the storm. Help us be contagious in our sharing of these things with all the people we encounter this day. Amen.