Year B – Pentecost – Romans 8:22-27

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now;23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.24For in* hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes* for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes* with sighs too deep for words.27And God,* who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit* intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Summary—Whether the captain must go down with the ship, I don’t know; but, as far as God’s concerned, the ship must go down with the captain.  Since man was king and creation was subject, creation was subject to man’s curse.  We broke God’s Law—God broke our world.  And that world groans for its redemption as we groan for ours, and those redemptions are one and the same.  Jesus died to break the curse, and he died to break it “far as the curse is found.”  That is our hope, sure but unseen.  The day is coming when the broken will be fixed, the hurt will be healed, the painful will be pleasant, the dead will be resurrected—everything sad will become untrue. 

Insight— In the meantime—while sad things are still true things—we long for the consummation of our salvation with groaning.  Sometimes, that groaning can’t be put to words; so, the Spirit intercedes for us with groans deeper than words.  This is one of our many Pentecostal blessings: the Spirit who was poured out on the masses at Pentecost is still poured out on us in our baptisms.  He washes and renews us, sensitizes our consciences and shapes our thinking, opens eyes of faith and enflames hearts of love, prompts us to pray and intercedes when we don’t know what to pray. 

Child Catechism
Q: Who prays for you when you don’t know what to pray? 
A: The Holy Spirit.

Discussion—In light of this promise, do you think it would be appropriate to ask the Spirit to intercede for you when you can’t find words for the cries of your heart?

Prayer— O God, we long for the redemption of our bodies, and for the redemption of our world.  We hope for that which is not yet seen, and set our hearts on what You have promised; but, as we wait patiently for it, the creation groans, and we groan—often without words.  Spirit, make incense of our longings and raise it to the Throne: intercede for us with groans deeper than words, through Jesus Christ who always reigns with You and the Father, one God forever.  Amen.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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