Running is a passion of mine. A year ago, I found myself on a muddy trail run, praying over and struggling with some areas of life where I yearned for freedom. For a long time, I thought freedom—being born anew—would come through one glorious breakthrough. I’d burst through the bramble into a fresh clearing, never to turn back or tread the old path, ready to leave the darkness of the forest behind me.
But as I kept living and kept running, I saw a trail that ran parallel to my life: a path where I would weave and wind—not always moving forward—but still make progress. The dirt sticking to the crevices of my shoes, the roots kneaded by the soles of my feet, the pine needles collecting in my hair, all taught me that what I wanted to leave behind actually became my story. And that with Christ there are no dead ends or pointless loops. They are part of the journey, the story; I need them.
Romans 8 encourages us to embrace new life through the Spirit and the freedom of confident living in Christ. We can see our past as stepping-stones to where we are now. We are always on the path to becoming, and we can choose at any time, through God’s grace, to take a fresh path.
Perhaps your past sins and struggles can be your best teachers. Can you embrace them as midwives in your rebirth? Let the Spirit lead you onto this new stretch of the path.
Loving God, as I take in what dim light I find within the trees and keep making each step on the uneven trail, help me trust. To trust I am not lost but burrowed in a womb of life-giving mystery. To trust I am reborn and already free. To trust in the mercy and beauty of daily rebirths. Amen.
This Sunday we will celebrate the Trinity, the Christian belief that God is one being and exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christian theologians point out that there are many references to this doctrine throughout the Bible. In Isaiah, the voice of the Lord asks, “Who will go for us?” not, “Who will go for me?” In the passage in Romans, Paul speaks of all three persons of the Trinity: We pray to the Father through the Spirit because of the work of the Son. Jesus also speaks to Nicodemus about the role of all three persons of the Trinity. This may not be the simplest of Christian doctrines, but it is foundational because it explains the nature of God and God’s work throughout human history.
• Read Isaiah 6:1-8. When have you experienced a cleansing by God, resulting in a greater willingness to serve?
• Read Psalm 29. As you read about the power of the Lord’s voice, do you find yourself frightened or drawn in? How approachable is God to you?
• Read Romans 8:12-17. What have you released to God? What bitterness has taken its toll on your soul? Are you ready to let it go?
• Read John 3:1-17. How has your life been reshaped by the Spirit? How did sins and failings manifest in the new creation?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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