Tell Them, Tell Everyone from the Mountaintop

6 Jan

IMG_0327Happy Epiphany!  This is a mountaintop near Sedona, AZ.  I was there in 2009 and took this picture.  The Frank Lloyd Wright inspired chapel is a favorite place.

Now on to the last half of Romans 10; where Paul is telling his reader to “tell them, tell everyone.”

11-13 Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”

14-17 But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims,

A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
    telling all the good things of God!

But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.

18-21 But haven’t there been plenty of opportunities for Israel to listen and understand what’s going on? Plenty, I’d say.

Preachers’ voices have gone ’round the world,
Their message to earth’s seven seas.

So the big question is, Why didn’t Israel understand that she had no corner on this message? Moses had it right when he predicted,

When you see God reach out to those
    you consider your inferiors—outsiders!—
    you’ll become insanely jealous.
When you see God reach out to people
    you think are religiously stupid,
    you’ll throw temper tantrums.

Isaiah dared to speak out these words of God:

People found and welcomed me
    who never so much as looked for me.
And I found and welcomed people
    who had never even asked about me.

Then he capped it with a damning indictment:

Day after day after day,
    I beckoned Israel with open arms,
And got nothing for my trouble
    but cold shoulders and icy stares.

This passage encouragement to ‘tell everyone’ that when they trust in God and call on God to save our lives is also a frustrated rand that the people of Israel did not tell others of God’s saving grace.  And not only did Israel not tell about God, but got upset when the ‘unworthy’ were invited into a saving relationship with God.  And, Paul accuses them of not faithfully living out their relationship with God.

I always think it is important to remember that the Jewish community that Paul is addressing is not the same Jewish community of today.   In Paul’s life the group he had grown up with – Jewish leaders – were people followed their rules, instead of opening their lives to a relationship with God that Jesus pointed the way towards.  For him,the indictment by the prophet Isaiah was true:

Day after day after day,
    I beckoned Israel with open arms,
And got nothing for my trouble
    but cold shoulders and icy stares.

This is Paul’s reality and our past.  Now in the present moment God is calling to us.  Will our future be ‘telling about God from our own mountain top?’.  When I think of ‘telling good news’, I always seem to think of St. Francis quote, “Preach good news at all times, and when necessary use words.”

Peace and Joy

 

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One Response to “Tell Them, Tell Everyone from the Mountaintop”

  1. Phyllis Terwilliger January 6, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    What an amazing chapel!

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