Friday, April 03, 2015

A Read-along of Romans, Chapter 16: Final thoughts and commendations

It's time to draw this journey through Paul's letter to the Romans to a close. Fitting that with the last chapter we receive not just commendation, but also greetings. Paul calls upon the readers to tender his best wishes prayers to a host of people to whom he is personally linked.

This roots him in the mind, and keeps him in the forefront of the attentions of the cosmopolitan Romans. Remember that in a complicated and busy human society, it is the often the one who is able to keep your attention that gets your time. Paul is reminding us that he (and thus, his teaching) are at the center of this movement of proclamation. If we resolve to remember him (and thus accept this long list of relationships as foundational  in our formation of community), then by extension we are accepting his wisdom and teaching.

That is a long way of saying: "You know me, and I know many of you, and so we can and should listen to each other."

Simple enough.

So, what are we hearing? That there is a new way to live in relationship to God in Christ Jesus...and by extension, how we are going to be living with each other in this very complicated, demanding and noisy world.

Our agency in the kingdom is one that requires active, mindful and continuing engagement. We are to be a discerning people, a God-seeking/justice-keeping people. We are to be active, and not passive in the exercise of our faith.

In his letter, Paul believe that he has delivered a positive and favorable kerygma to us as the Romans. The Gospel is more than just a story. Now, it has become a way of life that not only augments life in the big city; it also qualifies and transforms it from the mundane to the sacred. Jesus himself as Savior and Lord has come to the capital of the Empire. All other earthly powers are now subject to his in breaking Kingdom.

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