Another devotion written for a friend. Thanks to Katie Snipes Lancaster for the images as well!
Romans 1:1-7 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for God’s good news. God promised this good news about his Son ahead of time through his prophets in the holy scriptures. His Son was descended from David. He was publicly identified as God’s Son with power through his resurrection from the dead, which was based on the Spirit of holiness.
This Son is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received God’s grace and our appointment to be apostles. This was to bring all Gentiles to faithful obedience for his name’s sake. You who are called by Jesus Christ are also included among these Gentiles. To those in Rome who are dearly loved by God and called to be God’s people, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“To You In Rome”
Rome was a very long way away from Jerusalem and the center of the early church. For the early believers, this disconnect proved to be worrisome at times. Paul could not simply hop over to give advice for every conflict, nor could he comfort them in person as the powers that be worked to suppress their community. They wondered, “How can we continue to maintain the light of faith when all around us seems dark?” Paul responds to their fear in the opening greeting of his letter.
He says, the promise that brought Jesus to us came from a long time ago through a great many people before us. You are also a part of that promise! You have received that call and that grace!
This reminds me of when Sirius Black is talking to Harry Potter about his deceased parents at the end of the Prisoner of Azkaban.
He tells Harry, “The ones that love us never really leave us. You can always find them.”
He points to Harry’s chest and explains, “In here.” That is also how Harry produced his stag patronus to drive off the dementors.
No matter how disconnected you might feel from God, how dark the world outside seems, Jesus’ love for us will never really leave us. Even now we are filled with his grace and his light. This gives us our patronus. This is what keeps us going, keeps us fighting for justice, keeps us raising the light in the midst of darkness.