Romans 8.25-29 “Separation” JUMC 20130421

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. [NRSV]

Were Pharaoh’s armies and demands able separate God from God’s people? No! Did God cut off Job at any point? No! Did God stop being God when David and Solomon ruled as kings? No! Did God stop loving Israel when they were driven out of Jerusalem to Babylon? No!

Did a cross separate us from God? No.
Did Pilate, Herod, or Caiaphas separate us from Jesus Christ our Lord?

Did a civil war? or Pearl Harbor? Or Did 9/11 tear God away from us? No!!

Can Presidents, political parties and governments?
Hurricanes, Floods, Fires and Tornados stop God’s love
Can guns, bombs or fear and hatred of any kind keep God from being God?

Then, What in the world do we have to fear?

But God never let’s go of God’s end of the rope.
Tug of War: One side over powers and the other side finally relents and falls down. God never lets go of God’s end of the covenant.

God is faithful in holding on to us.
Nothing will cause God to let go.

Separation is real. Why do people feel so alone in this world?
Why do people hurt each other through domestic violence, political violence, take financial advantage, why would people commit acts of terror if God never let’s go of them?

There is one thing that can separate “us” from God, that is us. God allows room for evil. God allows room for division. God allows room for choice.

Without there is no meaning to life for us or for God. If God made us be good always we would not be human. We would have no relationship.

God allows the horrible to make room for the beautiful.
God allows the famine to appreciate the bounty
God allows terror and fear to make room for trust and peace..

It’s neither appropriate nor accurate for us to blame God for evil.
It is simply part of the dynamics of grace, trust, faith and love.

Can God love someone who values the lives, property and security of communities and nations so little? That is the point. God is grand enough to love prodigal brothers.

If God has room in the heart to hold on to the most evil of folk, then God surely has room for us too.

If God only holds on to the faithful, Lord who would be left.
If God only entrusted those who proved themselves worthy, who would make it?

But how do we deal with the loss, the chaos, the death of trust and lives?
The answer is way too easy… We stand closer to God.

We need to be near God and God’s people and
Take seriously the call to be broadcasting the message of love and hope
-even in the most evil of times.

When we hear of bombs and explosions, think of who search for meaning..
Show them the way, don’t lead them astray.

When we hear of wars, storms and threats of warn, it is time to prepare people to be in a closer walk with God, Who needs to be recued, until we realize we are stranding by a flood… Gather the lost who are trapped and only see it in the tragic light where darkness shines.

If the bombs had gone off in Jackson instead of Boston, what would we hope the people in Boston would be doing today?

Do we hope they would say a little prayer and move on with life trying not to think about the tragic loss? We would want and need more than that!

The folks in Boston and Watertown and West/Waco, and Jackson/Butts Co. need to wake up to the reality that we live in a broken world and need someone who can put the piece together when life is torn apart.

We need a God who knows the pain of nails in broken limbs and torture of a cross to face, endure and survive beyond the chaos.

Did they stop Jesus then? No. Will they stop him now? No. Who will tell and show them? Just one at a time…

One person begin inspired another person to act in terror, we can be one person inspiring another to join Christ in building peace and life and love.

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