Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
It is the first of June. I don't need to mention all that is happening, but I'll mention a few of the big ones. Worldwide pandemic, social distancing, no in-person worship, homeschooling, virtual graduations, high unemployment, signs of recession, marches for justice against police brutality, and for a more equitable society, rioting in cities, killer wasps, locusts (pending). Life these days can seem overwhelming.
Paul writes a letter to the people of Rome. The Romans were dealing with the army in the street, revolution and rioting, a large gulf between the haves and the have-nots, and a struggle with holding onto hope when the world seemed to be falling apart.
Paul's encouragement to the Romans and us is that Jesus has ushered in a new age. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus gives us a future and a life. Our sufferings are real. But we wait with anticipation, like a mother who is pregnant with child. We wait, knowing the pains of labor will be intense, but also hoping for new life to come.
So, maybe you could print out Romans 8:18-25 and tape it to the back of your television remote control. Or place it near your bedstand to read each morning and each night again. These are difficult days; there is no doubt. We have a lot of work to do. But in hope, we are saved.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?