Category: Lectionary

Amidst today’s solemn gatherings, plaintive recollections, and lachrymose tributes which will honor the thousands murdered on 9/11, we should also pause and contemplate the cost of American “justice.”

So now these chopped-apart verses stand in our textual memory as a testament to a moment when our movement was frightened by the logical conclusions of its own radical claims.

This text is one of the most fruitful lessons for thinking about the political theology of scripture in the whole three-year cycle. It is also one of the most humorous texts in scripture, as the powerless subvert the powerful.

Rather than falling prey to a stultifying pessimism regarding the continuous existence of evil, injustice, and oppression in our world, as Christians we should rejoice that God is in control of history, and that even evil will ultimately work to realize the glorious future of God.

From a political perspective it becomes vital then to stave against the self-imposed silence the brothers experienced and to hear clearly the voices of those we have cast into the pits of the earth.

Jacob’s biography is not a blueprint for activism, but perhaps a helpful model for what the church looks like in a world of empires, or at the very least a reminder that power can exist outside of prescribed structures. The story of Jacob empowers the marginalized to secure their own justice while reminding of the importance of confronting empire directly.

A Reflection on Romans 8:26-39, Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Does this text foster or critique violence? Perhaps the text should be read as anti-political or an alternative politics? Or does it get at the question of our most sacred idol, the family?