Christ Church, Susquehanna
But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom
they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good
news!” But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”
Sometimes on a journey we become more sensitive to the burdens of our fellow travelers. How difficult, I have thought, it must be for a young woman to travel with three small children or for an elderly person to travel with a respirator. (This week, while reading Numbers and Deuteronomy, I have become more sensitive to the challenges clergy face in developing meaningful sermons from difficult and ancient texts. ) My observations occasionally prompt me to offer help to fellow travelers but often make me think they are more courageous than I. By nature I am a cautious, risk averse keeper of lists and I am amazed to see others who appear to travel with less preparation but a great deal of faith that things will work out.
In today’s reading, Paul appears to be saying that God’s love is for all to share but all must come to God in faith. There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; a relationship with Christ is for all and not just a chosen people. All can come into relationship with Christ without having heard his voice but by hearing the Good News from those who spread it. The context for this epistle, I understand, was the development of the idea among Romans and others that the teachings of Jesus were intended for a universal audience.
As I prepare for a journey to a place unknown, it strikes me that there surely will be parts of the trip where I will be traveling on faith. Lists, travel insurance, cell phone and the right credit card may not get me to my destination. Perhaps the destination God wants me to reach is not the one for which all can be planned for in advance. Surely I should be prepared to meet and learn from fellow travelers who are very different from me. I should also be prepared to boldly share the Good News. (Oh, Lord how scary.) Now is not the time to be fearful before setting out.
So, I need to gather up my travel notes and put them in my bag. Need to be careful and not over-pack. I’ve been told to travel light.
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