God’s Working for Good

Friday, March 15, 2013 — Week of 4 Lent (Year One)

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 954)

Psalms 102 (morning) // 107:1-32 (evening)

Jeremiah 23:1-8

Romans 8:28-39

John 6:52-59

There are various ways that the first verse in our reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans is rendered in our translations. The Common English Bible (CEB) says, “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God…” The New Revised Standard Bible (NRSV) offers reads,”We know that all things work together for good for those who love God…” The NRSV also offers a footnote saying, “Other ancient authorities read God makes all things work together for good, or in all things God works for good.” (Romans 8:28)

I find myself more drawn to that last rendering: “We know that in all things God works for good.”

It seems that in every moment God is doing all the good that God can do given the limitations of creation and the freedom of God’s creatures. Part of God’s faithfulness includes the physical laws of nature. When I drop my pencil it falls to the floor. Those same laws are not suspended when a child walks in front of a moving vehicle.

Physicists speak of matter as a probability wave. Where a particle may be at any given moment is open-ended along a mathematical curve of possibilities. But when something happens, when the particle is observed, the wave collapses and the particle is in a particular place along the graph of former possibilities.

It seems to me that our life moves in a similar way. At every moment there are various possibilities open to me. Those possibilities are not infinite. They are limited and structured by all of my previous moments and choices. But every moment has its possibilities and probabilities. I can stop typing right now. If my granddaughter walks into the room, that’s more likely. But the strongest probability is that I will complete this sentence. There, that’s done. But as it is written, the next sentence is composing itself in my mind. There is a certain fluidity to that composition, and even as I write, I do not know exactly where this Reflection I am writing will lead.

I imagine that at each moment, God’s Spirit is working, speaking, yearning, drawing my mind and intention toward the good. God yearns for me to write good and true things. If I am open to the Spirit, if I am consciously grounded in “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:39b), I am more likely to act in accordance with God’s yearning, God’s will. But even if I do not, if I write foolish and false things, God is still working to mitigate that damage, maybe inspiring someone to read these words and write a correcting comment.

At every moment the divine is working unceasingly to bring all of the good that is possible from that moment. When we are consciously living in Christ — when we are choosing love — we are more likely to choose to live in a way that cooperates with God’s yearning, and we are contributing to God’s work for good. That’s why loving God, as Paul says, is so critical. Loving God, and loving our neighbor as ourselves, is key to the probability that we will act more closely aligned with the good.

God is always working for good. Each moment is a choice and a challenge for each of us — will we choose the good?

Paul is convinced that the whole course of the universe is turned toward God’s intention for good. God is for us; who can be against us? Ultimately nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in

Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:39b) So we can live in confident peace, knowing that when the probability wave finally collapses upon us, we will be safe within the love of God. So now we are free within the range of possibilities before us — free to choose love; free to work with God for good; free to follow God’s will for good. Now is the moment. Always. What shall we choose?

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