Read: Romans 8:28-39

Separated by distance. Separated by disease. Separated by death. We have been living through a time of separation from each other and from those we love. It is now more than ever that we need to remember that there is a separation that will never happen. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

There is a story of a church father, John Chrysostom, who was brought before the Roman Emperor to be banished. He replied, “You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house.” So, the Emperor claimed he would kill him. John replied again, “You cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God.” The Emperor then threatened to take all his possessions. “You cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.” The next threat was that John would be removed from all civilization and have not a single friend. “You cannot, for I have a friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to hurt me.”

This story illustrates the incredible power of the love of Christ. It is not that we just resist separation or are protected from it. It is that we are “more than conquerors” over any threat that pretends it can separate us from God’s love. Like John, we can stare in the face of danger, disease, death, or anything that would sow doubt around God’s love for us, and we can clearly, calmly say, “I defy you.” There is only one explanation for why this is possible: “Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us.” Jesus is alive and brings us to God; now, nothing will separate us from the love of God!

Reflection:

  1. What things of this world cause you to doubt God’s love? What does this passage reveal about the impact of those things on God’s love for you?
  2. What acts of faith or obedience could you be quicker to do by having greater confidence in God’s love for you?

Loving God, sin caused a separation between you and us, but you sent your Son Jesus to fill that separation through his outstretched arms on the cross. We thank you that there is nothing that can separate us from your love with Jesus standing in the gap. May your love give us confidence in loving others. Amen.