Romans (2)

This week we continue our worship series on Romans:  ‘Not Ashamed of the Gospel.’    Each week we will remind you of the theme of Romans which helps to centre our reflections on a particular text.

Theme:  Romans is THE great story of God’s plan for the reconciliation of all people and all creation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Nested inside that big story are other stories that include:  the story of God’s covenant faithfulness to Israel; the story of Sin and Death and their ultimate defeat by Christ; the story of the Christian’s obligation to the state; the story of what baptism means; and the story of welcome and inclusion in a diverse community.

Read – Romans 12.1-13.14

12.1-2                ‘Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice’

What kind of sacrifice does Paul insist we are to offer (12.1-2)?

12.3-16              The renewal of the mind   

How do 12.3-21 illustrate life lived ‘in the Spirit.’

Paul’s argument in 12.21 can clarified, once again, by means of a story, this one found in 2 Kings 6.8-23.

12.17-13.10      ‘Owe nothing except love’

Jeff Sessions, former Attorney General of the U.S., and a professing Christian, quoted Romans 13.1-2 as the duty owed by citizens to ‘submit’ to the state authorities.  Does reading Romans 13.1-7 as part of 12.3-13.14 change our perceptions of what is owed to the state?

Paying taxes was controversial, even for Christians, in the 1st century.  Jews had negotiated a special arrangement with Rome to pay a ‘Temple’ tax rather than a regular tax to the Roman government.  This angered many Gentiles who thought this amounted to tax evasion.  At the house church level, Gentile Christians would have counselled paying taxes as civic duty while Jewish Christians might hesitate to do so.  There resistance could bring harassment of all Christians by the general population.

What law in our country do you most object to?  How do you ‘think’ God feels about it?

Our Anabaptist tradition is known for its pacifist teachings and practices.  But abuse – power, gender, sexual – is still a problem.  What does it mean to live peaceably in the family of God.  What does it mean to reject revenge in the church family?  In the culture?

Why do our most candid conversations happen in coffee shops rather than in church meetings or the adult education hour?

13.11-14            Know the time

And remember that this is ‘The Day.’  It’s time already for you to get out of bed, because the salvation we have is much nearer to acceptance than when we put our trust in it.  The night is fading; the day is dawning.  So let’s take off our pajamas and put on our workclothes…clothe yourselves with Christ.  [Cottonpatch version]

How would your life be different this week if you consciously tried to ‘wear’ Jesus Christ?