Romans, Home and Empire
by Brian Walsh
Some months ago I got to thinking about Paul’s letter to the Romans and the problems of homelessness. Essentially my question was, what happens if I take the work that I’ve done on the dynamics of home, homelessness and homecoming with Steve Bouma-Prediger in Beyond Homelessness and integrate it with the work I’m doing with Sylvia Keesmaat on “disarming Romans.”
And the results are kind of interesting. So this week I employed these themes in a sermon for the Wine Before Breakfast community at the University of Toronto. The service opened with Empire Remixer Dave Krause performing Bruce Cockburn’s “Santiago Dawn” and the reading of Romans 4.1-25. That is the passage that talks about Abraham’s faith and how all of us are children of Abraham. Storytelling and questions of the family tree – this is the stuff of which home is made.
So setting the stage with a summary of Romans 1-3 from the perspective of home I then went on to reflect on what it means to have Abraham as our father. Here’s what I came up with.