Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pentecost 8a - Romans 11:1-2, 29-32

Romans 11:1-2, 29-32
The irrevocable gifts and calling of God is Paul’s conclusion to the “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” for “his kindred according to the flesh” (Romans 9:2) Even though the Christ Paul professes has been rejected by those who are imprisoned in disobedience, God will in the end be merciful to all. It is a daring statement that we diminish when we qualify it based on our limited knowledge. The point is the cross confirms the covenant and unlike people who God laments “honor me with their lips” but whose “hearts are far from me” (Isaiah 29:13) the promise from God’s lips and the love of God’s heart is one in the same.  If Paul believes God’s mercy extends to descendants of Abraham who do not confess Christ, we might even dare to hope God’s mercy extends to those for whom we have great sorrow and unceasing anguish trusting that in the end mercy trumps judgment.


  1. Gulp! Thanks so much for this post, Phil, it is so hopeful. Your words reminded of the quote, I think by Barth, "God always has his surprises." I think when all this is said and done we will be so very surprised about what it all really meant, surprised, and maybe even saddened by our actions and our attitudes. You blessed my day.

  2. Thanks Mark. I appreciate the comment. My favorite line from English murder mystery writer P.D. James in the novel "Death in the Cathedral" is when one of her characters confesses "I believe God is more merciful than I am."