Longing for Home: An Advent Journey, 2016 — Day Twenty-Two

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Isaiah 7:10-16
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25

Romans 1:1-7

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.

Every Sunday as he moved to the pulpit to preach, our former pastor spoke that last line to us. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” I cannot tell you how important those words became to many of us over the eleven years he was with us. They spoke to us of steadiness, of core truth, of centeredness, of hope . . . and, of course, of grace and peace.

This opening to the letter to the believers in Rome is so lovely, isn’t it? It distills the entire gospel into a few succinct words — something Paul was both good at and lousy at, depending on the letter! Not that his words are every ‘lousy,’ but sometimes they can be far from succinct! 

Here, however, he nails it. Read it out loud, if you can. Listen to each word. Let them roll around in your mouth and in your heart. There it is — this faith that we claim. Neat, simple, clear. Past, present, future — the work of the gospel! Oh, I thank God for Paul. And for these words!

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Comments

  1. These words are beautiful, Diana, and sum up our faith perfectly. I know Paul can get convoluted at times, but I do love all of Romans (am reading the book now as part of my Bible study). I’ve heard folks refer to this book as the mini-Gospel.
    Blessings!

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