Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lent 2 A - Romans 4:1-17

Romans 4:1-17

I wonder what Abraham would think of the three children that name him father. All three claim first born rights that exclude the others even though the middle child was adopted and the youngest was born to Abram’s slave Hagar. Is this what God had in mind? That many nations fathered would include Judaism, Christianity and Islam? And how in the world did a small fortress city at the crossroads of empires (the El Paso of the Middle East as someone once said to me) come to be the center of the spiritual universe? I know Paul does not state it explicitly in chapter four but it would seem to follow that God would desire peace between father Abraham’s children in the city named Yerushalayim (abode of peace). I’m not making any predictions as to how that might happen though the only way I even entertain the hope is because I believe the One who suffered a violent end in the abode of peace can “make all things new”. Therefore what has to be let go for peace to last, even within the adopted child's immediate family, is the notion that whatever God gives us is wages owed for work done. Our temptation is to move faith from the credit column to the debit side of the ledger so that even when we are not doing anything we can claim we did something to guarantee the second child is the only sibling that will receive the inheritance. Faith lets the promise rest on grace, is what Paul writes the Romans, so let’s leave it there and trust that the God who brings life to the dead and calls into existence things that do not exist will work out the details.

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