God’s covenant with Abraham has been reformed in this
credo, “justified by faith.” Paul writes and teaches and
reminds us of the mighty acts of a God who loves us, courts us,
and receives us, even before we respond in like fashion.
Paul invites collective ownership and embrace of the new
covenant that the Lord has forged through his Son, Jesus Christ.
See what God has done! We boast in response to this word.
Paul instructs us to boast in hope, in suffering, and in God. Paul
does not promote suffering as a good thing; he acknowledges,
however, that suffering produces endurance, which produces
character, which produces hope. “And hope does not disappoint
us.” We live in a confident hope. We have been justified; we
have peace; we gain access; we boast in the hope. We have a
relationship with God that takes our willful intent and our best
unrealized intentions into account.
We have received the unmerited favor of God. The season of
Lent calls us to deep introspection for all that we are and are not.
Contrite before God, we hold tightly to the gift of our faith. We
acknowledge both the pardon and the assurance of God’s love.
How does this gift provide an opportunity to consider those
places in our lives where we feel stuck? Consider those occasions
and circumstances that threatened to pull us down. Just
when we thought all hope was lost, a way was made. We can
move forward, maybe slowly, even falteringly, but we can make
it. The health diagnosis, the child for whom we have been praying,
the perilous marriage in which we have been so invested—
all have been given new life. We will survive! “Hope does not
How much more should we rejoice and boast in the God of
O Holy Way-maker, you commit to our well-being with a resounding Yes! May we always hear your yes and respond with our yes! Amen.
All the readings af rm God’s benevolent care of those who place their well-being in God’s hands. While imperishable, God’s love can be frustrated by human pride and faithlessness. Water is an important symbol of God’s sustaining grace. In Exodus 17 the Israelites’ dependence on water becomes a statement about their dependence on God. The manner in which they obtain their water stands as commentary on human pride and arrogance. The psalm recounts this episode as a means of warning the people against the kind of obstinacy that impedes grace. John 4 focuses on the full actualization of God’s love in Jesus Christ through the “living water.” Paul speaks of God’s love being “poured into our hearts,” a grace that comes in the death and life of Jesus Christ.
• Read Exodus 17:1-7. When have you complained to God about a situation, only to discover God had already begun to forge a way through?
• Read Psalm 95. How does weekly worship allow you to hear God’s voice? How do you testify to God’s goodness?
• Read Romans 5:1-11. Reflect on a time when your suffering produced endurance and ultimately character.
• Read John 4:5-42. How do the words of Paul to Timothy about a worker “who correctly handles the word of truth” serve as a bridge between the “truth hurts” and the “truth will set you free”?
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