If God is with us…
Ever imagine “The Times They Are a ’Changin” as a punk anthem? It works. The Somalia-born artist K’Naan delivers a moving, searching version of “With God on Our Side,” that explores both the positive and negative consequences that can come from that attitude. “If God’s on your side,” he sings at the end of the song, “who could ever want more?”
I thought of this song when I read today’s second reading. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” the Apostle Paul asks the church of Rome. “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?”
Of course, Paul is talking about the lives of individuals and of a spiritual community, challenging us to trust God more than we are usually inclined to do. The song, on the other hand, is calling us to ask whether enlisting God to join “our side” can be a justification for the conflicts of a nation. However, the question is a good one for us to ask. At least for me it is. If God is on my side, how could I ever want more?
Lent marks a time for us to reflect on all the things we turn to besides God in our lives — or all the ways in which we behave as if God is not on our side. If you’re like me, there are many.
But I do want more. I want more money. A better job. A strong family. I want my children to be successful. I want our nation to be strong and secure. I want all sorts of things and I’m not always confident that God will provide them. I work very hard to accomplish these things because I’m not sure they will come about if not for my dedication and efforts to secure them. I might believe that God loves me, but I don’t always believe that God will implement my plans for my life.
Lent marks a time for us to reflect on all the things we turn to besides God in our lives — or all the ways in which we behave as if God is not on our side. If you’re like me, there are many. The good news, of course, is that God is on our side, and that God wants nothing more than to shower us with unconditional love.
If God is with us, who can be against us? Well, many can be against us, but Paul’s point is that no obstacles to our spiritual well-being are stronger than God, so we need not live in fear … of anything. This reading is a wonderful reminder that should free us to shed the things we trust outside of God, because they can’t really deliver anyway. Nothing is bigger, better or loves us more than God does.