All you lectionary types, I am the page sponsor for the Romans text this week at Textweek.com.
I did it to honor my mother -- whose life verse was Romans 8:28-31. She taught me that. I found out later that it was my grandfather's life verse, as well. I found a typewritten testimony in his old Bible -- it's one of my cherished possessions. It's probably one of my life verses, too. It's taken on new meaning recently -- as I explore what it is to be called.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
*I* am the called. That still sounds so strange to me, but I have always been called. Not always to ordained ministry, but called. I am the called -- I am justified and will be glorified, not through what I have done but by who I am -- a beloved child of God. And this glorification will be more than good makeup and teeth whitening. I am being shaped into the image of his Son. And what more can I say? All the threads of my life, the light and the dark, all these threads will be interwoven together to make something beautiful -- a tapestry full of pattern and grace. The dark bits are full of hurt and pain and the light bits seem to not quite be enough at times. Yet it is in the interplay of light and dark that the Image is to be found. God has given me eyes to see the pattern at times -- but it takes perspective and distance. When the eye is too close to the tapestry, single threads dominate. Time and perspective and distance.
What can we say? The artist of this tapestry is always at work -- and He know what the pattern is. All we can do is endure the dark times, hope for the times full of light and grace and know that God is with and for us.
If God is for us, who can be against us?