September 20, 2019
Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus
September 20, 2019
Jeremiah saves the strongest rebuke for the leaders: they are all “greedy for gain”; they practice deceit; they have no shame—“they do not even know how to blush” (Jer 8:10, 12).
The prophet’s concern is for God’s wounded people. The leaders do not take their hurt seriously. “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?” (8:22) The Bible understands health and wholeness in terms of salvation—the soundness of body, mind, and spirit is of one piece. But the self-seeking leaders have no compassion for wounded souls; they cover severe wounds with band-aids, and cry “’Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”
In Paul’s time as in Jeremiah’s, there was no shortage of callous, unjust leaders. The early Christian community, oppressed by the harshness of the Roman regime, faced trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword “all day long.” Paul himself bore chains, imprisonment, beatings, and finally trial and execution, and yet he knew the love of Christ went with him. God’s truth sustained him, the truth of “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom 8:34).
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- Read Romans 8:31-39 over and over again. Proclaim it out loud if you can. Nothing “in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Sing or read “There Is a Balm in Gilead” (UMH # 375)
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- When people are hurting, sad, and afraid, what can you do to help them?
- What can you do to remind yourself that God is always with you, even when you are fearful or sad?
Ever-present God, you have promised never to forsake us: grant us mercy to return to your ways of love and kindness. Make us aware of your presence in our joy and in our sorrow. Through Christ who died and lives again with you, Amen.