Occasionally, we will reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on July 30, 2014.
Prayer: Dear God, your gospel message is good news to all past, present and future. Work with all your people as we commit our lives to you. Amen.
Reading: Romans 9:1-5 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: (I admit, I had to go to my daughter’s New Student (Study) Bible (NRSV) to figure this one out and I will be drawing from the margin notes. They comment how chapters 9-11 contain some of Paul’s strongest words ever. I obviously would need help!)
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. (v. 2) Rejection by the Jews was a crushing blow to Paul. Members of his own race were rejecting the gospel he had committed his life to and this was so upsetting to him he even offered to forfeit his own relationship with Christ for the sake of his race. (v. 3) Paul just couldn’t rest until he linked the theology he set forth in Romans to God’s past, present and future activity among the Jews. God does not break his promises!
Does anything bring more pain to a new Christian than rejection by family or friends? What is good news for the Christian may be seen as bad news by others. Some can melt down the walls of suspicion and hostility while others end up living in emotional quarantine. Same dilemma Paul faced. But God can be trusted. He keeps his promises. --Ruth Gates
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