File PhotoPastor Erin Armstrong, Trinity Lutheran Church. ■ Erin Armstrong / Contributed “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now.” (Romans 8:22). The Apostle Paul writes these words to the early church in the city of Rome—people he had not met, but felt drawn to build up in their faith and community. They were living in the shadow of the empire, under the rule of emperors increasingly paranoid and frightened by the small group voicing a radically different way of being. The mass persecution had not started yet, but danger and uncertainty loomed on the horizon. Paul writes to this community to offer them comfort
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