My first memory of being in awe of power comes from a young age. I was around 6 or so. Back then and even now, I love pickles. Specifically, Mt. Olive pickles. AS you likely know, then as now, Mt. Olive pickles come in glass jars with metal lids. Lids which are often quite difficult to remove at first. Well, if they’re hard for us as adults, imagine how difficult they’d be to a six-year-old child. Even one as hungry as I was that day and desirous of one, that lid? I couldn’t budge it. Not a millimeter.
But I knew what to do.
“Dad!” I called out.
Rather quickly, he arrived and, with what seemed to be to be the strength of Samson, easily removed the lid. Rather quickly I was munching away on one of my favorite snacks. I knew, right then and there, I wanted to have that kind of power.
Now, it isn’t surprising that I’d mistake physical strength for power at the time. I was, after all, only 6, puny and small in the world
Of course, as I grew up, I realized while physical strength was nice, there were other more potent sources of power…or so I thought. Y’all, I spent seasons of my life believing power meant having money or using the right words or wielding influence or a host of other things. Over time though, life demonstrated to me the folly of those beliefs, sometimes with quite a significant amount of fall-out.
Thankfully though, there is power in this world and, even better, we have access to it.
I open this morning with a brief reading from Paul’s letter to the Church at Rome, the first chapter, I’ll read verses 16 & 17. Hear now the Word of our Lord:
“For I am not ashamed of the power of the Gospel, it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
The Apostle Paul writes this letter to a church that he’d yet to meet in person. He’d heard stories about them, of course, about their faithfulness in the midst of a culture growing deeply suspicious of their beliefs. But, as of the writing of this letters, he’d not been there yet.
So, this letter is written as a means of introduction. A way of saying, when I get there, here’s what I’ll want to talk about, where I’ll be coming from.
It helps, doesn’t it?
To know ahead of time what’s going to be discussed, that is. Want to get a pastor quaking in their boots? Call them out of the blue and tell them you’ve got something you need to talk to them about. Then, don’t tell them the topic.
It makes us anxious, I confess it. Chances are none of us like to be told there’s something important we need to be told only to have to wait.
My guess it was just like that way back when the first Apostles still walked the earth.