Second Sunday of Advent
Scripture: Romans 15:4-13
Paul’s letter to the Romans was a letter written not only to the church at the heart of the Roman Empire, but also to a church under the close surveillance of the RMNoman political elites. In this place the non-Romans have no place in the social and political affairs of the Roman bureaucracy. However, they have everything to do with the economy of Rome. They all serve the Roman economy. The Jews also falls among these non-Romans, except those who have won status by service under the Pax-Romana gets to enjoy some sort of equal citizenry with the Romans, but not equal.
Now within the Jews’ faith the non-Jews were treated like non-Romans in Rome, they were called gentiles and were excluded from the circles of Jewish worship. Now that many Jews have become Christians, they maintained the exclusion of non-Jewish Christians, treating them as second-class citizens of the new faith. Already marginalized by the Romans politically, they are now further marginalized religiously by the Jewish-Christians. This would contribute further to their being excluded from social circles of the Roman Empire.
These were the recipients of Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Christians who are divided among Jewish-Christians and non-Jewish Christians. You can imagine the agony and struggle the non-Jewish Christians go through. Already they are slaves, nobodies in their homeland, and now entering a space where they believe their hopes can be lifted, they find the same treatment. Poor souls!
Where could they go to keep their hopes alive? Where can their hopes be realised? In this season of Advent, many around the world are like the non-Jewish Christians of Paul’s time. They do not feel one, or two, but many layers of marginalization. And sometimes the marginalization comes from places and people they put their trust to make their hopes come true.
As we await the coming of the baby of Bethlehem, who learned in this life that as a Messiah and Son of God he needs to let go of all prejudices, died to bring people together. For it is in him that all could find a common ground to lay down their hopes and see them come to life, to fruition.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come. You, our HOPE.
-Fuata Varea Singh, CWM Pacific
Prayer: May the hope of the world be realised in you Lord Jesus. May you also become the hope that many need. May we, make your hope a reality to those we serve. May our presence become a beacon of hope. In your name, Amen.