Lectionary Year B
June 8, 2003
Romans 8:22-27




A. Genre: The genre of this text for me is one of instruction. I say that because Paul is instructing us about a great mystery. That is the balance that is maintained between the already and the not yet in which we live. This is not instruction in the sense that an answer is given about the details to any one person but rather instruction on the matter in general for the purpose of laying down a premise. We are in the midst of a theological statement about Christ of which this is a part. There is also a pinch of encouragement to this pericope and so I would add a genre element of exhortation.

B. Personal Interaction and Organization:

Issues which catch my immediate attention include:

The complexion of "groaning" for creation, us, and the Spirit;
The solidarity between God's creation(including us) and Godself through the Spirit;
The meaning of being adopted by God and the question of just what that includes so that I know better what to eagerly anticipate;
That hope is tied into our groaning[I recall a professor at seminary saying, perhaps Dr. Shelton, that when one uses the word hope one should have in mind the longing of a maiden waiting in the tower for her beloved knight to return from the battle];
The notion of waiting patiently [my dictionary defined patience as "the quality of being patient;
The power or capacity of physical endurance; the character or habit of mind that enables one to suffer afflictions, provocation, or other evil, with a calm unruffled temper; calmness; composure; quietness or calmness in waiting for something to happen; forbearance; longsuffering; constancy in labor or exertion; perseverance];
That our "weakness" is here associated with prayer;
A related issue is that the Spirit's response to our weakness is a prayer of sorts which is unutterable. I guess that part of those things which are unutterable for us reside quite explicitly in the being of the Word which is Jesus Christ. It suggests a tenderness to me of God's love for us, like that of a parent to the child who doesn't know quite what he or she is doing as they imitate their parent's everyday motions. Its a pleasureable moment for a parent - what about for God - what about in the other areas of weakness we have which are not in imitation of our Father in heaven?

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