I’m sure all of us have noticed that sometimes it takes reading something two times (or more) through before the words really sink in. It was that way for me today with Wright’s reflections on Romans 8:18-25. The first time, I sort of hurried through and honestly didn’t think too much of it. However, after trying repeatedly to find something worth posting today and drawing an absolute blank, I went back to the reading. I’m so glad that I did, because I missed several things, any of which deserves to be unpacked some more. But in the interest of brevity, I’ll simply reproduce a brief reflection on the calling of the church.
I love the picture of the church in this passage. We tend to think of the world getting itself into a hopeless mess, and the church going off and hiding in a building somewhere singing God’s praises, pretending that all is well with them. That is not Paul’s picture of the church. As we have already seen, his vision of the church, as of himself as the suffering apostle, is that it is called to be where the world is in pain, so that, by sharing the pain, it can be the means through which God himself, by the Spirit, is present even there.
One of the things I love about Wright is that he is a first-rate New Testament scholar. And yet, I love even more that he has such a love for the church that he longs to see it embrace its vocation as the body of Christ – the suffering servant.