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Romans 8:18  I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20  for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; 23  and 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. 24  For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? [1]

These words from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet  recognise that we all suffer from the “Slings and Arrows” of life.  The question is asked whether we just accept the suffering that comes our way – or whether we resist this “Sea of troubles”. St Paul’s words offer a way of replying to this: While agreeing that suffering is part of life, Paul argues that our perspective can change the way we deal with suffering.  We can literally move from “groaning” to “glory”. This begins when we anticipate the rebirth of all life: of our bodies, of our spirits...and all of creation.  Instead of being crushed by our struggles, we are encouraged to patiently and hopefully work for the renewal of all of creation. As we work to transform our world, so God’s Spirit enables us to rise above our struggles to discover signs of rebirth all around us.

Talk about suffering here below
And let's keep a-loving Jesus.
Talk about suffering here below
And let's keep a-following Jesus.

Oh, can't you hear it, Brothers?
And don't you want to go?
And leave this world of sorrow
And trouble here below.

The gospel train is coming
Oh, don't you want to go?
And leave this world of sorrow
And trouble here below.

SKAGGS, RICKY / DP, from Cold as the Clay

The Third Sunday in Lent


Thirsting for God

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 118.

This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.   

[1]  A soliloquy in the "Nunnery Scene of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet.

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)