Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pentecost 8a - Romans 10:5-15

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek…” is as radical a statement as any Paul made. Israel was a nation specifically set apart to be God’s own people. The psalmist declares “God has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation…” (Psalm 147:19-20) They were distinct from other people through adherence to the Mosaic Law, through a restrictive diet, by the practice of circumcision. They were warned repeatedly to remain pure to avoid the ruin of the nation, by God’s own hand no less! But now Paul declares the “new thing” that was promised through the prophet Jeremiah that even he could not have anticipated. The law that set Israel apart has itself been set aside for the sake of nations long denied equal access to the God of Israel. In Jesus Christ “God come down” the Word is as close as our own breath and the beating of our own heart. Of course we have made new distinctions; defining exactly how someone must “call on the name of the Lord to be saved” or what must be believed in order to qualify as one who will not “be put to shame.” Maybe we need an equally radical expression of the grace of God who apparently after a thousand years or so with Israel was willing to be less exclusive when it came to who qualifies as “my people.”

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