For Sunday, July 3, 2011: Year A

THE READING    Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67

In today’s reading from the book of Genesis, a servant who remains nameless is on a journey to find the right wife for the son of Abraham. Through God’s grace the right woman reveals herself through her act of service—a camel, it should be noted, drinks gallons and gallons, so watering camels from a stone jar is no small feat. What’s more, this young woman agrees to leave home at once and go far away with the servant, toward a destiny she cannot foresee but for which she has trust in God—and her courage and obedience lead her not just to marriage but to love. It is either irony or providence, or both, that, on the very Sunday on which we bid farewell to our well-beloved rector, the name of the young woman in today’s reading is Rebekah.

THE EPISTLE    Romans 7:15-25a

Today’s first reading and the response celebrate the result of fully trusting God to do the good that is intended by God for us. Paul’s letter to the young church at Rome is a long and careful explanation for new believers of how to do that and why. In today’s painfully familiar passage, Paul identifies precisely the dilemma on the two horns of which everyone in this world is gored: we know very well that God’s way is best, but there is literally no way on earth that we can simply will ourselves to follow—except through the grace of Jesus Christ.

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