Imagine typing words into a word-processing program without any parameters for the alignment of those words on the page. No left justification. No right justification. Not even center justification. In fact, no rules at all to determine where the words begin on the page, whether the lines are evenly spaced, or how much distance falls between the letters of the words. How would we read and comprehend the writing?
Alignment is a simple yet necessary feature of word processing programs; the text must align to the margins and the words with one another. Alignment is also principal in faith. In the opening chapters of Romans, Paul establishes that our alignment with God, our justification, comes by faith—not by circumcision, not by law, not by works. All have sinned and are out of alignment. All are justified and brought into alignment. (See Romans 3:23-24.)
So Paul begins chapter 5 with words to this effect: “Because of our alignment, we know that we are at peace with God. Because of our alignment, we know that we stand in grace through Jesus. Because of our alignment, we look forward to participating in the glory of God.” Paul focuses on the required maintenance needed by our alignment with God; just as we attend to the alignment of our documents, our cars, and our backs, so too we must be attentive to living rightly in our alignment with God.
Breathe in as you raise your arms up. Breathe out as you reach your arms down. Feel your spine as you stretch, and pray: Help me align myself with you today, O God, in mind and body and spirit and in the fullness of faith. Amen.