Proper 11 (16)
July 20, 2008
Genesis 28:10-19; Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
I don’t know why, but this scripture really stuck out at me this morning. It is from the 8th chapter of Romans.
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,[f] including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[g] for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
One of my favorite musical artists is Kerry Livgren. If you don’t know the name, you may know his songs; “Dust In the Wind,” and “Carry On, O Wayward Son.” Kerry was one of the founding members of the band Kansas. It’s been many years since he left Kansas. Beyond Kansas, he formed a band called AD and then has recorded quite a few solo albums. Yes, I know they are CD’s now, but there are still albums to me. A theme that occurs in some of his post-Kansas writing is this groaning — that this present world is not all there is — there is more to come. I think of the song “All Creation Sings.” Creation is eagerly awaiting the coming day. The title track of “When Things Get Electric” also references this groaning. Kerry even references the groaning like the pains of childbirth. The scripture also references “Glorious Freedom,” which is a song of our holiness heritage. Paul even alludes to the fact that we can have freedom from sin through the Holy Spirit.
I like what Paul says a little earlier:
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[a] you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,[b] you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[c] of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.[d] Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”[e] 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
The freedom from sin that God gave us is available right here and right now. Paul reminds us we have no obligations to do what our sinful nature tells us to do. What child who loves her mother or father would constantly disobey them? The same thing happens in our Christian walk. If we love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, why would we want to disobey him? We are his children — we have been adopted into his family. This allows us to share in his glory and as Paul reminds us, we also share in his suffering. Blessings….