Today's Lectionary Text
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.
Not all celebrate the new year with eagerness. For some, it is a very dark time. We experience the fear associated with a government shut-down. What do we do? In just over a month, it will be the fourth anniversary of the deaths of my parents. How am I supposed to go on without their advice, love and support? I just spent over two thousand dollars on an unanticipated and therefore unbudgeted home repair. I have not yet called the mechanic to see how bad the check engine light that came on this morning is going to hurt. Where is the money going to come from? I am a cradle United Methodist looking toward February in St. Louis with dread. Is this the time my church tears herself apart?
Now, lest you see this message as nothing but a litany of woes, I have a purpose in sharing this. None of these fears is new. Paul knew about financial woes, loss of loved ones, loss of health, and church dissension. In the midst of this dreadfulness, he still wrote, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.”
We are not alone in dark times. God provides us with tools to overcome. We are more than conquerors. No matter what happens in St. Louis, God is still God. God still loves God’s children. No matter how many times the check engine light comes on, God remains. In every trial and grief, God still loves us.
We are more than conquerors. And nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have that on very good authority. We can trust it to be true.
CLM serving Plum Creek UMC
Prayer for Reflection
Gracious and loving God, we come to you fears and all, knowing that you are God. We trust that, in you, we can be more than conquerors. Help us to step out fearlessly in your name and in your service. In Jesus’ great name we pray. Amen.
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