It is a pity that the editors of the Lectionary omit v36 of Chapter 8 of the Letter to the Romans from the second reading set for next Sunday.
Paul speaks from his experience of suffering for the Lord’s sake: v36 gives particular emphasis to that.
Sometimes we ourselves need to cry out naming our pains and the cost of discipleship. The missing verse might give us the courage to lament, not only to trust in the Lord, but to lament the pain and need that mars our life . Lament is not the end of it – in the tradition it leads us to praise. But to praise before we’ve had a good and honest lament can short circuit things, might even make our praise less authentic.
That said, the most important truth of which Paul speaks here is that none of these horrible and painful things can or will separate us from the love of Christ.
We will surely suffer for his sake; we may even die for his sake. But nothing will or can separate us from his love which will make us conquerors through him.
- When has knowledge of God’s faithfulness and his unfailing hold on us sustained you in trial or temptation?
8.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Image of martyr: Painted Chamber, Commandery, Worcester (c) 2019, Allen Morris.