Access by faith
It is probably one of our most challenging efforts as human beings: stepping outside of our own "stuff" while at the same time making the focus of our life about the "other." For the most part, we can accept making another person our focus if we bear affection for them, recognize a particular tie between us and them or embrace a person because they are a part of what we know as tribe, community. Beyond that, embracing the other becomes a frightening thing, something we can't completely trust or control. Beyond what we are comfortable with in another person, not one of our own, lies fear, prejudice...hate.
Paul's letter to the Romans is an ongoing invitation to us to embrace the reality that God has chosen to be in relationship to us, first through Adam, then through the Law and now ultimately through Jesus Christ. Adam's choice to turn from God opened a fissure of sin between humanity and its creator. Covenant allowed God through the Law to invite humanity into a restored relationship that required continual maintenance and mediation through fidelity and obedience. Humanity fell short, and so then God entered fully in to being us, in Christ. There is no "other" between us and God now. All of God is in Christ, and in Christ we are now all in with God.
It is one thing to say this, another to live into the acknowledgement that God has redeemed us by this new access by faith to God in Christ. It leads us to two places we too often reject out of fear or guilt: that God does love us and that we are forgiven, once and for all. For, if God really does love us, and if we really are forgiven, then what sort of life are we being called to lead?
One that is beyond our comfort zones, we are called to a life that is wide open to the other...and one to which we are continually being transformed more fully into the stature of Christ. That life is one that invites us to let go of what was and embrace what is yet to come...
That is our side of the equation that results in the redemption of creation through the witness of the Christ, an ongoing, day-to-day plunging into relationship. In that plunge we find ourselves, even though it means being open to the growing pains of human becoming.