The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I
have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Romans 1:8-15 the apostle Paul lays out his reason for writing. He wants to introduce some ideas to the Romans and he also desires to visit them. His reason for a visit is very interesting. I’ve run into this as a parish pastor. When I make contact with people to arrange a visit, at first, some people are hesitant. They appear fearful. “What, am I in trouble?” No, not at all. At least, not as far as I know. But pastoral care is much easier for people who are well known to the pastor and who know and trust the pastor themselves. My desire is to establish a good working relationship which may later bear fruit. When a time of trial comes we will be ready to deal with it.
That’s the reason Paul gives. He has been praying for the Romans. He would like to make a trip to Rome to find out how they are. Maybe there’s a spiritual gift he can give which will strengthen them. Maybe they can take encouragement from Paul and he can also take encouragement from them. This will cause his visit to bear fruit for the Gospel. Therefore, he is eager to go visit Rome.
As a missionary I often make contact with pastors and ask to visit their churches. Some pastors seem to have the idea that it would not be worth my while to visit if their congregation isn’t ready to provide me with significant financial support. But I want to go anyway, if I can. It is encouraging to them and to me when they can hear what the Lord has been doing in my ministry. It helps me know how to pray for them as my brothers and sisters in Christ. And it helps them know how to pray for me as I am laboring on Christ’s behalf, as their ambassador.
May we all take great encouragement from the visit between Paul and the Romans!
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