Sunday, February 7, 2016

Romans 15:7 (NRSV): In Peace With One Another

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)

Throughout Paul’s ministry he readily addresses the divisions that take place among Christ’s faithful.  Paul consistently reminds his audience about Christ’s words: They must love one another as God loves them. And love includes acceptance of differences and learning to live, not perfectly, but in harmony with one another. This was a challenge for the Jewish audience who felt entitled to the promises of the Old Covenant, for many struggled with accepting the troupe of new Gentile converts to the Gospel. Paul reminds them all to lovingly accept one another as God has accepted each of them. They are, moreover, bonded by the Holy Spirit and are to model the sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ in their lives.

We still have similar problems in today’s world, and they are not exclusive to Jews and Gentiles. Our problems, however, are more diverse: Catholic, Protestant, Islam, race, ethnicity, socio-economics, sexual orientation/identification, and gender. Paul’s message is as true today as it was 2000 years ago: We must learn to love each other despite our differences and live harmoniously in the love and peace of God, living Paul’s mantra to “welcome one another . . . just as Christ has welcomed you.”

Let us keep each other and our special intentions in prayer this week.  

May you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.