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There Is Only One

Lent 2023

Read Romans 11:11-24

11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Romans 11:18

A few years ago, there was a funny commercial featuring an actor playing an arrogant athlete. A reporter told him, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” He responded, “Yeah? There ain’t no ‘we’ either.” It is easy for us to become self-focused and overwhelmingly pleased with who we are: our gifts, our intelligence, our abilities, and our often self-given greatness. But at the end of the day, there really is only one who matters. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit gives us all we are and have in life.

We did nothing to become a branch, nothing to tie ourselves to Christ, the root, and really nothing to possess or become who we are as people. Through God we are created, through Christ we are saved, and through the Holy Spirit we are gifted. It is through God alone we are who we are. Remembering this helps us to take the focus off ourselves and shift it back to its rightful place.


Lord God, you are great, you are everything. Teach us to put you first and make you central in our lives. Nurture us through your word, your sacraments and your people. Amen.

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