Sunday Preview from The Rev. Stephanie Kendell: “One of *Those* Texts”
This week we welcome back our beloved Qadry Harris to share a word on this week’s text. And it’s one of those texts so this Sunday will be something you don’t want to miss.
Romans 8 is a piece of our scripture that makes most of us quickly turn the page when we come to it in the Bible. However, this is a text that we not only must discuss, but if we are going to be justice seeking people it is one that we need to reclaim from those that use scripture to push people away from God, rather than to bring them closer. This text is one that we use to push people away by condemning their bodies and putting our entire human connection with God into a spiritual understanding. We are people that are made body and spirit. Bodies that God made specifically for us. So, when this text is used to say that our bodies are separate from our relationship with God, we must push back and reclaim our whole self: body and spirit. This text needs to be one that we reclaim. We need to not be afraid of it so that we make sure that more people are not pushed from the church or pushed from a deeper understanding of the love of God. As you read the text below I’m sure you have heard it, or an interpretation of it at work in the world. I invite you to think about the way you have experienced this scripture at work in the world.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
(NRSV Rom. 8:1-11)