Monday, May 10, 2004

Romans 8 notes


Life in the Spirit, Part I Romans 8:1-17

from Romans 8, Cotton Patch Version:*

"...no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!"

1. There is, then, no charge outstanding against those who are in (wedlock to) Jesus Christ. For the Spirit's law of new life in Christ Jesus released you from the chains of the law of sin and destruction.

"...the glorious liberty of the children of God!"

16-21. The Spirit himself sings out with our spirit that "WE ARE GOD'S CHILDREN." And if we are his children, we are also his heirs. If, indeed, we are his heirs, then we are Christ's fellow heirs--provided, of course, that we identify with his suffering in order to join in his reward. For I figure that the sufferings we are enduring can't hold a candle to the splendor that's going to become evident in us. In fact, the fondest dream of the universe is to catch a glimpse of real live sons of God. For the universe is in the grip of futility--not voluntarily, but because someone got control of it—and it is hoping against hope that it will be emancipated from the slavery of corruptness into the marvelous freedom of being the children of God.

*Clarence Jordan, The Cotton Patch Version of Paul's Epistles: A colloquial modern translation with a Southern accent, vigorous and fervent for the gospel...A Koinonia Publication. New York, Association Press, 1968

Here's some of Scott's stuff:
  • CE 49: Claudius (of Masterpiece Theatre's I, Claudius, not Sesame Street's Me Claudius) ordered all the Jews out of Rome, so the Roman Church became exclusively gentile; later on, Jews going into Rome experience an all-gentile church. Paul wanted to disimagine those gentiles of some of their arrogance! As contrasted with his letter to the Galatians, which Paul wrote to the gentile judaizers, he wrote Romans to Jews.
  • Backtracking to Earl Palmer's ideas about Romans 3:
    our lives are filled with a "turbulent line" and we spend our lives trying to fill that turbulent line with meaning. Yes!
According to Palmer, Paul's solution of life in the Spirit has 3 points:
1. In Christ, we've bowed twice:
1. in admission of sin – humility;

2. in gratitude for life in Christ Jesus

2. We have God's assurances - this is absolutely, entirely and completely anti-despair: Jesus Christ is enough, and God's activity in our lives always will be age appropriate and journey appropriate.
3. We are bonded to Christ and (therefore) free: "bound yet free!" A person set free (John 8:36) to serve as a bondservant of Christ the Servant.

***To illustrate the boundaries interrelationship, Earl Palmer uses kite imagery***

From one of the poems Scott read:

Bruce Barton Bailey, "I Am The Kite"

I am the kite …
But my mistake was not to take the wind for granted
But the cord that tensioned me to the one I did not see so far below
The flyer is not me
Lord give me an anchor, give me pause.
Let me know in freedom's limited flight, the kite's first cause.
Here's a spinoff version "The Truth of the Kite," by the illustrious anonymous:
The other kites are flying free, but I am tangled in a tree.
My heart crying with despair, will I ever be up there ...
The future for me seems so dim.
God has been healing, but it takes so long
And the gale wind forces seem so strong. ..
Will I, will I ever be up there with the other kites flying free.
Able to trust the breeze and string, able to trust God in everything.
Life in the Spirit, Part II Romans 8:18-27

A couple more verses from the Cotton Patch Version:

26. Similarly, the spirit also helps us out in our weakness. For example, we don't know beans about praying, but the Spirit himself speaks up for our unexpressed concerns. 27. And he who X-rays our hearts understands the Spirit's approach, since the Spirit represents Christians before God.

justified / righteousness

God is holy; we are unholy

Life lived in the Holy Spirit is the answer to this total crisis of humanity; here are Earl Palmer's points 4, 5 and 6:

4. Destiny boundaried by hope with the com-panionship of the HS, literally "with bread," as intimate as sharing a meal!: death is not the ultimate boundary!
5. We live in God's pre decision of Jesus Christ
6. We live in God's unshakable love

* All creation will be set free - exactly what I've recently been thinking and writing about
* Teilhard de Chardin hoped to continue his research in heaven (sounds like me, as well)

Romans 8:26-27 Holy Spirit is our com-panion, therefore we can live as real, authentic Christians:
  • constant companionship
  • constant translation of our prayers
  1. In Christ Jesus God has acted to save the world: Jesus is God's great predecision
  2. God will do something good, in my favor, in my life: God "recycles" the bad into the good: Scott said, "God picks clean the bones of our experience…to build up our lives and the lives of others, a work of art." Everything is "grist for God's plan."
We live in the unshakable love of God:
  • God is for us!
  • God is for us!
  • God is for us!
  • God is for us!
Therefore, it is well with our souls. What is separating me from God? Tether myself to the HS! Recalling Harold Friedell's hymn, "Draw us in the Spirit's tether."


A long time ago I preached on Romans 8:18-27, and called my sermon "Play and Creation." Here are a few of my ideas:
The games, toys, rituals – and the worship – of people reveal a lot about them. Whether an adjacent neighborhood or someplace far away, by observing and participating people's rituals and games we can learn about people's values and their social structures, about their dreams and fantasies. Rather than being "just pretend," a lot of children's play and much of adult play actually and actively creates a new and different world from our everyday one, a world that is self-contained yet still coexists with and within the "real" world. ...

Whenever we play, we live almost entirely within the present. The content of play and of games helps us forget guilt, sorrows, and disappointments from the past, helps moderate anxieties about the future. When we're playing we're probably most ourselves, because we're living most fully in the present, just as God created us to live.

In Hebrew history people remembered and talked about past events as if they still were in the present; the past acts of God gave Israel confidence about the future and willingness to continue in covenantal partnership with God, open and responsive to the present; because they knew about the past, they dared face the future with a living hope. We know Israel didn't live that way all of the time, any more than we do. But they're a useful example for us because of the vivid contrast between the times they lived as God's people and those times they didn't.

Rituals, celebrations, and liturgies were one of the ways God's people Israel persistently recalled the past so it would remain present. Within a context that was play more than it was anything else, Israel told and retold the story of the people's experience with the God of the exodus, the God who covenants with creation. ... Like Israel, when we worship we remember who God is, who we are, how God has acted. We affirm our dreams. We announce our hopes for the future. Not only is much of our liturgy in the present, like play—it also creates a new and different self contained world that exists with and within our everyday world.

Like play, and like our dreams, our worship ends the division between material and spiritual we so often make. In worship, dreams begin to become reality. Just as Jesus resembles, represents, and reveals God, we become images of God when we play, when we dream, when we worship. We become people who live fully in the present; we become creative, responsive, and responsible. ... Being a Christian means living in the interplay between two worlds, just as Jesus lived. What we are now is far from our potential, but as God's children we will be completely free and alive without constraints some day. Our playful attitudes and our liturgies are the first fruit, the guarantee that finally we will end up in God's image, since God's indwelling Spirit makes possible our play, our dreams, our celebrations.

You know the familiar idea from the Good Book of humans created in God's image. Still further, scripture reveals the God who fills heaven and earth becoming human and finite in Jesus of Nazareth. God in Jesus Christ gave us a dream of a whole, healed, reconciled world, a world at peace and at play, and challenged us to make it our dream, to set the dream in motion and make the new heaven and new earth reality.

Finally, not only will we be free, but all of creation will be liberated and whole, because God includes all creation – everything – in the plan of redemption. So each of us and all of us can wait expectantly for that time in which all of life becomes play for every one of us!

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