Tagged: ordinary

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on August 20, 2017.

I do not think it will be a farfetched assessment to say that we live in a culture in which people desire and seek after the spectacular.  People are looking to buy homes that have eye-catching curb appeal and exude “charm.”  Developers want to build the amusement park that has the “wow” factor to draw in visitors.  Technology companies continue to build “flagship” devices for consumers who desire “premium” gadgets.  The news media is seeking the next spectacle, whether an event or person, to drive up ratings.  It is fair to say that there is an insatiable appetite for the spectacular and many have found ways to cultivate this desire, feed it, and profit from it.  As a marketing website puts it, “Why hire a conference center when you can have a castle?”  It is fair to say that we are all chasing in some ways after the next spectacular thing that will bring happiness or the next dramatic event or encounter that will leave long-lasting impressions.

It may be worth asking how this desire for the spectacular affects believers’ relationship with God.  Thus, it is perhaps not sheer coincidence that our lectionary passage falls in the season between Pentecost and Advent, what Christian tradition has referred to as “Ordinary Time.”  Ordinary Time stands as a corrective to desire for the spectacular and dramatic that our culture is trying to cultivate in us.  Our passage invites us to think about the various ways in which God moves in the ordinary.  In Romans 10, Paul details Israel’s rejection of the gospel.  As Paul sees it, this rejection stems from willful disobedience on the part of Israel to pursue its own path for righteousness based on works, rather than the divinely initiated path that is based on faith.  Thus, while Israel—the people of God—have failed to achieve righteousness, the Gentiles have obtained this righteousness that is based on faith (Romans 10:5-13).  Concerning Israel, however, Paul quotes Isaiah 65:2: “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

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