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Lectionary reflections - Year A
Ordinary Time
Proper 13

Isaiah 55.1–5
Romans 9.1–5
Matthew 14.13–21

The pain in Paul’s words is tangible, and made even more poignant by the victorious assurance of the end of chapter 8. Paul has just been asserting that nothing can ‘separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’, and now, suddenly, we move into this howl of lament. For one moment he allows himself to dwell on something that seems to contradict what he has just said, because something has
separated his fellow Israelites from the love of God, apparently. How can these things be reconciled? Has Paul got it wrong, after all? He can only search the depth of his knowledge of Christ, confirmed, he believes, by the Holy Spirit. And remember his description of the Holy Spirit in chapter 8, as the one whose voice is increasingly heard in us, drawing us into true conversation with God. So when he now speaks of an inner confirmation from the Holy Spirit, he is not speaking simplistically of a ‘personal conviction’, but of the discipline born of the years in which he has tried, increasingly, to hear the conversation between God and God, going on in him and around him, to hear it, submit to it, and play his own part in it. This ‘confirmation’ comes as a result of the whole of Paul’s Christian life, given to God, without counting the personal cost.

And yet, and yet . . . Paul cannot simply turn away from the love of his people...

Taken from Lectionary reflections year A by Jane Williams - Published by SPCK

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