“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” Romans 8:26
The eighth chapter of Romans holds some of my favorite texts in all of Scripture, including the verses on hope we read this past Sunday. The chapter goes on with even further encouragement, not just about hope but about God’s presence with us.
I hear echoes of the psalmists in Paul’s writing, reminding us that God sees us, knows us, and loves us in every moment, no matter what we are facing. The ancient Hebrew wisdom, and early Christian teaching, together assure us that we are not alone in our need or our anxiety. And, when the uncertainty we face confounds even our prayers, God is there, as close as our breath, praying with and for us.
Our gospel lesson this week points our vision, again, toward the kingdom. It challenges our familiar perspectives, and invites us to stand in the tension between traditional wisdom and the advancing movement of the Spirit in our time, which, by all accounts, can feel discomforting if not somewhat destabilizing. But Paul and the psalmists, and Jesus himself, have promised that this journey to greater righteousness and peace is not one we navigate alone. When we take steps in faith toward God’s justice and peace, we will always do so upheld by the Spirit.
In hope and gratitude to share this journey with you,