We can’t meet face-to-face right now, but we can share and encourage one another electronically. Check in midweek each Wednesday as people share their favorite scripture passage and why it speaks to them in this uncertain time.
A Midweek Meditation from Bruce Tammen
Romans 8:38-39 King James Version
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I was an anxious, fearful child. I remember in 6th and 7th grades, a terrible, low-pitched, slow voice would enter my head as I lay in bed, telling me that I was a bad person, that I didn’t deserve anything, that my life was worthless. Night after night. The voice moved into the background in later years, but what it told me was always present. Good and kind people helped me move forward, encouraged me, told me I had brains and talent and would be of value to the world– but that voice always seemed to be speaking the real truth to me, and made my efforts meaningless.
After completing my graduate program at U Chicago, I was in a quandary—there was nothing, really, that seemed worth doing. It happened that I had a friend who was on long-term staff at Holden Village, the Lutheran retreat center in Washington state, who suggested I come out there and volunteer for a while. I did so, working in the kitchen for several months, summer and winter. I took full advantage of the opportunities the Village offered, hiking, attending Bible studies, doing music. I would get up and hike very early in the morning, before my shift in the kitchen started, often joined by a friend who would bring her Bible. We would sit on a rock or a log, and she would read aloud. This Romans 8 passage was one of her favorites—she would often say, “I know enough about the bad news; I need to hear the good news.” I felt such comfort and hope, as the sun rose, hearing these words.
I later learned a musical setting of the text, in the King James version, and memorized it. I particularly love the word “persuaded”—the sense that conviction doesn’t just sit there, accomplished, but that we need constant persuasion. I often imagine those powers and principalities, feel that separation, and long for the wholeness and connection this text promises. Only through that wholeness can we be, for others and for ourselves, the good for which this soiled world cries out.