What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:31-39
This text is commonly read at funerals.
They read it at Michael Brown’s funeral in Ferguson. And as it was read, something remarkable happened. People began to clap and cheer and weep.
And as I heard the words “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord," I was not all surprised at this reaction.
In fact, I wondered why this text does not ALWAYS elicit applause and cheers and tears.
In the face of oppression, injustice, grinding poverty, suffering, and unnecessary death we dare to look evil in the eye and say “none of this will have the last word.”
This not pie in the sky in the great bye and bye.
This is a firm faith and hope that empowers action to work toward justice today.
As Rev. Al Sharpton said at the end of his powerful sermon as he picked up a bible,
“I've read the end of this book. The first will be last. The lion will lay down with the lamb. There will be justice.”