Labor of Love, May 21.2012

ROMANS 8:22-23 
We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now.
And it’s not only the creation.
We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside
as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free.
I’ve always loved this text, the idea that there is something so tremendous, so valuable so transformational that the whole of creation waits for it together. And not a quiet waiting but a loud and getting louder kind of waiting. A waiting that contracts and recedes but gets increasingly intense as the whole world waits hungrily to claimed and set free.

I was adopted and so I think that word always jumps out at me, making me read this scripture through that particular lens. Today when  I read it occurs to me, the author of this letter longs to be claimed by God. At it’s heart this is what it means to be adopted. To be chosen and claimed. To be taken as one’s own and be truly made a part of this new family. When I was kid adoption wasn’t as common (or at least  not as well-known) as it is now and often times kids would say to me, but where is your real mom?  And I’d think, wow, they just don’t get it. This is the lady who’s claimed me and loved me and made me hers. She is my mom.

We wait with anticipation to be loved and claimed in such a way that it sets us free. True love doesn’t bind or break, it challenges us to love well in return, no longer clinging to selfishness, fearfulness, insecurity, anger or hurt feelings. It’s hard work this waiting and loving. We struggle as individuals and as whole nations, as a species and in concert with all of creation contracting with violence and war and then receding and waiting for peace.

What are we waiting for? Not a passive peace but for redemption, for reconciliation, for the world to be made whole. God’s been working on teachings creation about love like this for a long time. It’s a long labor of love. How do we participate rather than wait passively? How do we learn to trust our adoption, believing that we are each chosen, claimed and loved by God?

O God,
We long to be claimed by You
and set free from the things in this world
that bind us to brokenness.
We long to bring our groaning and clamoring voices
together for peace,
working in concert for reconciliation
rather than retaliation.
Be with us in our labor pains
Oh God and teach us to breath in our fears
and breath out love,
teach us to breath in hate
and breath out peace.