Paul is often accused of being dry and clinical in his writing – but sometimes he can open us to the most beautiful and stunning statements about the love and mercy of our God. The second reading today – from Romans 5 – provides us with such a statement. He tells us:

But this is how God demonstrates
his own love for us:
the Messiah died for us
while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

We can look at a number of different scenarios to help unpack what this might mean for us. Each one involves two people walking along a muddy path beside a swollen river during weather like we are having right now. We will then journey with two other people – this time the two disciples who were walking away from Jerusalem towards the village of Emmaus which we find in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24. These two people share with us many insights about the hopes and dreams of ordinary Jewish people in the mid-first century, and how Jesus who joins them along their journey addresses these questions about the significance of the cross and his whole life.

The hope of Israel was not for rescue from the world,
but a rescue plan where redeemed humanity
would once more play the role for which they were designed.

Recorded at St Paul’s, 10am (13 mins)
Sunday 3, Season of Lent, Year A.
Romans 5:1-8; John 4:5-42.