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How Was I Supposed to Know That?

August 6, 2020

“But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?” Romans 10:14

Dispatches From a Suburban Parson During a Pandemic, Day 144.

Torsten, our youngest, has developed an interesting habit (as children often do). He will ask a question, listen to the response, and then say, “Well, how was I supposed to know that?” Real life example from two days ago:


Torsten: Dad! Dad! Do we own a catapult?

Me: No.

Torsten: Well, how was I supposed to know that?

As we continue through Romans, we find ourselves this week in the midst of a larger section, chapters 9-11, in which Paul is seeking to answer a question dear to his own heart: Why have most of his fellow Jews not come to faith in Christ? By the end of the section, Paul takes comfort in the promises of God. What God had long ago promised to the people of Israel, God will not now take away. In the face of two thousand years of Christian antisemitism, this answer must be good enough for us. Through Christ, we are grafted into the covenant made between God and Israel; we dare not respond with antisemitic thoughts, words, or deeds.

Paul’s words today have broader application. How are people supposed to know the love of God in Christ, that grace that comes through the cross of Christ, that life-changing movement of the Holy Spirit that intercedes for us? How are they supposed to know that? We’re supposed to tell them!

We need preachers, and we need to be preachers. Not pastors; preachers. We will not find the gospel inside ourselves, and neither will anyone else. So. We listen, hearing again the sweet words of promise. We tell, sharing the consolation that comes from God alone. Through this work will flow life and the forgiveness of sins. Through the spoken Word, lives will be transformed. Thanks be to God!

Also, Torsten’s birthday is next month. If you’re looking for gift ideas, it seems he is in need of a catapult.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Promising God, we rejoice in the certainty of your promises. Your Word is true and good even in the midst of our fear and doubt. Send us preachers, Lord, and send us to be preachers. May your Word find easy entry into our ears; may it even be upon our lips. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Torsten, at breakfast just the other day, wondering how he was supposed to know that.

From → COVID-19

One Comment
  1. Paul Haberstock permalink

    I love it! Torsten … and your message.


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