Romans was going to be my first post-seminary exegesis project… a project all my own that wouldn’t involve a teacher’s deadlines or assignments or awkward “conversations” in online discussion groups. Just me and my NRSV, ESV, NIV, a couple of other alphabet Vs, and Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
I. Was. Ready.
Apparently, the Holy Spirit had other plans.
The first time I tried to study Romans, I didn’t even make it to a chair before I was waylaid. I was at work, headed to my reading nook where I take my morning break, when a coworker hijacked my thoughts with his wedding plans. Before I knew it, “As One” was written and posted, including a reference to John 17:20-23. In my Bible, right next to that scripture, I had written, See Ephesians 4.
After posting “As One,” I headed over to Eph. 4:1: I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.
It just so happens, I’m in a season of discernment and this scripture reminded me of something very important I’d overlooked in all my moaning, wailing, and gnashing of discernment teeth: God has called everyone to become one in the body of Christ and to use our gifts in the fulfillment of that call. After meditating on the scripture and consulting two commentaries (as well as Os Guinness’ book, The Call), “The Universal Call” was added to my 5 A.M. Thoughts collection.
Sorry Romans – You’ll have to wait till another day because there’s no way I’m leaving Ephesians right now. I’m fascinated by the intersection of God’s universal call with the individual gifts he’s given to each of us, and nothing short of overwhelmed at the thought of being created for the purpose of serving him – individually and as the Church.
It may not be a class requirement, but it’s no less of an assignment that I’ve been given. The Spirit has led me here, and it’s here I’ll stay until I learn what I need to move forward.
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)