Last week we talked about the Rock
the flawed human being on which
Jesus built his church. A man who knew he neede
d saving and
knew Jesus was the
one who could do it; a ma
n who struggled to find the moral courage to follow Jesus
to Jerusalem. He was a rock and a stumbling block, an ally and a betrayer.
And the wisdom of the lectionary takes us from Peter to Paul this week. If Peter was
the rock, Paul was the glue.
a founding rock
on his strong profession
of who Jesus is
are the Messiah.”
Paul stitched together the church with his passionate confession: “I was wrong.
you’ve got to meet this Jesus who changed my life.
” The church is bu
ilt on flawed
human beings, yes.
is held t
our failures, and by our
willingness to tell the stories of how Jesus heals our wounds.
stopped throwing stones, and started te
lling the truth
elf and his need for God’s love.
God calls on one unlikely messenger after another to
was described in the Apocryphal Acts as “a small, bald
headed man with
crooked legs but a healthy body, a long nose, and eyeb
rows that met.”
He was a
strict Pharisee before his conversion.
tudied with a renowned rabbi
Despite his teacher’s generosity toward the burgeoning Jesus
Saul (not yet Paul)
had little patience for the early Christian
communities emerging around him.
He became an aggressive, even violent
opponent of them.
fter Paul’s dramatic conversion moment
on the Damascus Rd
a bright light, blind
but now he sees,
carried by the kindness of strang
ers, he becomes the opposition to
those with whom he use
to ally himself.
He lost his community, his identity, his way of understanding the world to follow
But this dramatic reversal, this
profound set of losses did not leave P
p on his shoulder even if he retained
but redirected his zeal
letter to the Roman church is not about girding for battle it’s about believing
in the power of God’s grace to change everything
even the way we actually feel
and feel about others
not just think.
important word in this passage for the Roman church is not “enemy” or
“vengeance” or “hospitality” or maybe not even “love.” The most important word
may be “genuine.” Paul is talking about a change in our hearts, in the way we
actually feel about others
, not just in our actions.