Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Romans 11:25-32 (NRSV)
So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,
“Out of Zion will come the Deliverer;
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.”
“And this is my covenant with them,
when I take away their sins.”
As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
I don’t have many strained relationships. I take pride in knowing that I’m in good standing with many people and work regularly to keep those relationships healthy. Yet, I do have some strained relationships. You know the kind. Something traumatic happened and someone had to act. Depending on the perspective in the story, there were times when I’ve been the savior and other times when I’ve been the villain. Trust me when I say if our relationship is strained then something bad has happened.
Our passage today speaks about strained relationships. It is specifically speaking about the bad relationship between Jews and Gentiles but more than that of the relationship between God and the chosen ones. As you can imagine, it’s a hot mess. There is a lot of hurt between them all. Jesus had recently been crucified and there was blame amongst those who were his followers and other groups they interacted with. Many of the Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Christ and his followers felt that this was unpardonable. Yet, Paul doesn’t think this way and is revealing this mystery to the Roman believers.
Paul explains to the early believers and to us that God is not done with the Jews. Although they’ve abandoned Christ, God will still reveal to them the fulfillment of the covenant and they will come to know God through the salvation of the Gentiles. What a glorious plan from the God of mercy.
If there’s any consolation for us, we should look to this passage as a promise of hope not only for our individual conflicts but also for our global strife. In many ways, we’ve given up on one another and are content to stay in our own paths. However, God is not content to leave us this way and has prepared for us a path together through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It is a great mystery but it is the hope that we desperately cling to. These gifts and callings are irrevocable. Hold fast to the promise of the Lord today.
God, in the midst of our dissension, remind us of Christ. There is a balm in Gilead. There is unity in the cross. Thank you for binding us together. Amen.
Go with God.