Sunday, August 03, 2014

Is There Something That Can Separate Us From His Love?

Today's sermon carefully avoided the Gospel reading about the feeding of the five thousand and used the following excerpt from Romans 8 as a launching point to talk about death.

Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;
   we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
The first half of our sermon could have been acceptable to a congregation of Unitarians, but we finally got around to the heart of the matter towards the end and learned that we have nothing to fear when we die for we have confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ and nothing can separate us from his love.

Or is there something that can separate us?

Both Paul and our homilist today were preaching to the choir. A Christian listener is strengthened and encouraged by the message in Romans 8:39. To the non-Christian it is rubbish.

Yes there is something that can separate us from the love of Christ, and we look at it every time we see ourselves in the mirror.

The other night as I was out on a walk, pondering the imponderables, a voice came to me saying,
"You are just a tool as far as God is concerned, just a means to His end. What happens to you is of no real concern to Him."
I was a bit taken aback and for a moment thought,
"Yeah, you're right."
Then the voice said,
"You don't have to be a tool, something to be used and discarded. You can be free, free to live your own life to the fullest." 
I thought,
That is when I recognized the voice of the Tempter and committed myself once again to walk in God's path however difficult and painful it might be and wherever it might lead since He has done the same for me (which is a tad bit more than the Tempter promised to do).

Some might say that the voice of temptation comes from within, some might say that it comes from without, but in either case if you listen to it, you will find exactly that something which can separate a person from the love of the Lord.
"There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us." Walt Kelly

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