Sunday, August 2

This morning's scriptures presented two contrasting themes, the assurance of God's blessing despite the troubles and threats of life, and one of Christ's difficult saying about the end times.  In Romans, Paul re-iterates that for God's sake he and other Christians faced death all day long and were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  But despite this, he was convinced that nothing could separate them from the love of Christ.  As Rev. Scott said in his sermon, "Even when there is treachery and brokenness, God's will is going on...  All things work together though sometimes it is hard to see."  How many of us have had experiences where complex and unforeseen events yielded a positive result that none of us could have imagined as we experienced the travails of life, seeing in that result the working of God beyond our own understanding?  
In a second reading, we see Christ telling many parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, concluding that in the end the angels will separate the wicked from the righteous and throw the wicked into a blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  A harsh judgment and punishment of the unfaithful is not what we Christians always accept as consistent with God's love for humanity, preferring instead to focus on the salvation that faith brings.  It is a sobering text, and one if accepted literally should move all of us to more sustained efforts to bring others into the Kingdom of God.

Rob R.