From David Clitheroe
Thought for the week June14th 2020
Romans 5 1-5
Whatever is it that links the powerful opening to chapter 5 of Paul’s Gospel speaking to us of ‘justification by faith’, Methodist Homes for the Aged [MHA] Sunday and today as the beginning of Refugee Week?
I find it helpful to go back to last Sunday and our celebration of the Trinity for it is in the Trinity that we find not that God has relationships with us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit but rather that God is relationship. The Trinity is not three ‘bits’ it is one whole relationship. The Franciscan teacher Richard Rohr puts it this way, “God was destined and determined, I believe, to become a human being…” not just to have a relationship with human beings but to become a human being and therefore be in relationship for it is relationship which enables us to be human.
Jesus was fully human he wasn’t ‘playing at it’. A consequence of this runs two ways. God is, as it were, part of our DNA and so shares something of the life of every human person. But by the same token as human persons we are part of God. So, there is a third consequence we are part of one another.
It is this mystery that St Matthew tells us Jesus addresses in the parable of the sheep and the goats. Those who win favour with God are those who recognise God in all their neighbours without thinking about it. ‘Lord, when did we see you in need?’ This person needs my help, my friendship, my recognition. I must, I will respond. ‘In as much as you did it for one of these you did it for me’.
Individual refugee children in Calais waiting to join family members here in the UK need our help. The staff on the front line in the care sector caring for some of our most vulnerable members need our recognition and support. Black lives do matter.
Eugene Peterson in The Message renders the opening of Chapter 5 of Pauls letter to the Romans in this way. “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us – set us right with him, make us fit for him- we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus… We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.