URC Daily Devotion 9th August 2023

9th August 2023
 
 Romans 8: 18 – 30

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 labour 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?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.  And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Reflection

None of the churches who received a letter from Paul realised that he had been writing scripture. Though this congregation in Rome somehow already knew the basic facts about the life and death of Jesus, there were as yet no written gospels for them to refer to. No one had yet written down a sentence like “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son….”

Of course they had scriptures, but in a mixed congregation of Jews and Gentiles only one group will have been familiar with what we now call the Old Testament. Perhaps not all Paul’s readers yet knew the story of Adam and Eve, and the event that we describe as The Fall. But in accepting the Gospel they will all have acknowledged the brokenness of our human condition, and have eagerly accepted the promise of a very different kind of existence as children of God.

But here Paul reminds them, and reminds us, that not just humanity is longing for some kind of radical change. It is the world, and not simply human beings, that God loved so deeply; and just as the old Bible story links the cursing of the ground to our human disobedience, so we today can recognise our part in all that threatens the well-being of God’s good creation. Increasingly we have come to recognise how destructive our influence has been and continues to be on the earth’s systems, environment, processes and biodiversity.

So we and the whole of creation now eagerly look together for freedom and redemption. Paul seems to recognise that here we are beyond the confines of human language. Together we groan as we look to the Spirit to put into words what we cannot properly grasp. But our prayers, like Paul’s, will be offered in hope.

Prayer

Loving Creator, as all creation cries aloud and your children despair, we ask for the comfort of your Spirit. Assure us that this world is not forsaken, and that creation will be made new. Help us to be loyal witnesses to nature’s suffering, and to your healing power.
from A Rocha Prayer Diary

 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d John Durell, retired minister and member of Waddington Street URC, Durham

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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