Scripture Reading: Romans 13:8-14
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in . Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. –Romans 13:11-14
Some seem to thrive on quarreling and jealousy, always wanting to have something brewing, which distracts from the mission at hand. It is a way of controlling, bullying even. I fear I have little patience with such behavior. I am equally sure I have some personality traits that drive others up the wall. I am impressed with those who are gifted with the patience to deal with such distractions and return a group to more productive use of time. What is interesting to me about our scripture today is the inclusion of quarreling and jealousy with reveling and drunkenness, debauchery and licentiousness. I doubt if most would combine them. Churches are renowned for quarrels and jealousy but have great disdain for the other items on Paul lists. Humans tend to find sin in the actions of others quicker than in their own.
Yet, here we are totally human and committed to being the Body of Christ engaged in the world today, warts and all. First, being a part of the Body of Christ necessitates being in close communion with Christ, being aware of how Christ worked within the community as an example to all and routinely testing ourselves against those standards. If something is wrong in the world, we are called to work toward its correction finding agreement on how that can best happen. Second, such work takes a combination of all our skills and talents. Learning to be stalwart when appropriate is as important as learning how not to sweat the small stuff. Third, synergy, becoming greater than the sum of our parts, happens when we get it figured out.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’—Matthew 18:20
Prayer: Lord, help us see past our petty differences and gain a clear understanding of being your Body in a broken world. Set your priorities in our hearts and guide us to be one in attaining them. Amen.