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Romans

8:18-27


 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

 

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (ESV)

 

Creation's Glory

Tuesday of Easter 7

19 May 2015

When my married seminary classmates would encourage me toward the blessings of holy matrimony, to deflect their interest in my family future, I would quip: "Misery loves company." There is a certain truth to this. If we find ourselves in a difficult position and are entirely alone in it, it is quite hard to bear. If we can share our burdens with others, then it becomes easier to bear our trial. Of course, marriage itself enables us to share our struggles with wife or husband and family. After hurricane Ike damaged electrical transmission lines in the Houston area, the shared sense of misery, when the heat and humidity returned, made it easier to bear. While we lacked air conditioning, we commiserated with each other and shared remedies for the stifling heat and humidity. Those deprivations would have been much harder to bear if we had not had such a large company with which to share them. Nature itself groaned under the burden of the storm and we felt it.

 

The creation has been made subject to decay by the fall. The context into which Adam and Eve were placed was damaged by their abuse of the creation. They used the fruit of the tree in a way that God had forbidden. They spread the results of their disobedience to the very instruments of their piety. Their corruption infected the paradise God had presented to them for their bliss. We live with that misery for which we are responsible every day. We feel it acutely right now in southeast Texas with our torrential rains. The skies would not deliver floods of water except from our perversity.

 

Yet the creation groans in anticipation of our ultimate reconciliation with God, because the seeds of its renovation have been sown into it by our renovation in baptism. Creation was made for our benefit. It still stands at our disposal and under our dominion. It serves us. Even the divine command to use a creature such as water in connection with the all-creating Word foretells a time when nature will no longer groan with us, because we will no longer be burdened. Baptism begins the renovation of water itself. The glory of the creation breaks through from the font. Through baptism, we live in the full possession of glorious freedom; the freedom of the heir who has inherited his estate.

 

In the end the creation will resume its place as our home. It will no longer be our adversary and troubler. Our redemption will lead God to remake creation's pristine glory for our benefit. We will have a truly symbiotic relationship in which creation will be repaired because of us and for us. Creation's glory will reflect the honor that our Father does us by making us fellow heirs with His only begotten Son.

 

John Chrysostom

 

"'For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God' (Rm 8:20-21). Now what is this creation? Not yourself alone, but that also which is inferior to you, and has neither reason nor sense. This too shall share in your blessings. For 'it will be set free,' Paul says, 'from its bondage to decay,' that is, it shall no longer be corruptible, but will go along with the beauty given to your body. Just as when the body became corruptible, the creation became corruptible also; so now the body is made incorruptible, the creation also shall follow it. And to show this he proceeds, 'into the glorious freedom of the children of God.' That is, because of their freedom. For just as a nurse who is bringing up a king's child, when he has inherited his father's power, enjoys the good things along with him, so also is the creation.

 

"You see how in all respects man takes the lead, and that it is for his sake that all things are made. See how Paul comforts those who struggle, and shows the unspeakable love of God toward man. For why do you worry about your trials? You are suffering for yourself, but the creation also for you. Nor does he offer only comfort, but also shows what he says is trustworthy. For if the creation which was made entirely for you is 'in hope,' how much more should you be, through whom the creation is to come to the enjoyment of those good things. When a son is to receive an honor, the father clothes even the servants with brighter garments, to give glory to the son; so God also clothes the creature with incorruption for the glorious freedom of the children."
 
John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14
 
Prayer

Almighty God, by Your Word You created and sustain all things, and by Your Spirit You renew Your creation. Grant now the water of life in baptism would give life to those who thirst for You and that creation's glorious renovation would be foreshadowed at the font of new life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

For catechumens, that they would be strengthened in their faith and confess Your Word to the world

 

For active duty military personnel who are deployed to combat duty, that the Lord would send His holy angels to watch over them

 

For Jess and Angie Thacker, who will be leaving the teaching staff of Memorial Lutheran School, that they would be kept safe in their travels

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Resurrection (1515)

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