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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, July 30, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Romans 16:17–27

I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil. The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Timothy, my co-worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen. (NRSV)

Reflection
“Timothy, my co-worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.”

Who were all these people? They were all significant enough to be included in this letter to the Romans, but why? What difference did they make, or more importantly, why do they matter to us now?

They were friends and colleagues of the author Tertius, friends that made a difference in his life and in the lives of others. Perhaps they were not important historical figures, but they were connected to Tertius enough to be mentioned in this letter. It was their connections with each other that really mattered, and it is our connections with each other that still matter today. White, black; rich or poor; gay, straight; Muslim or Jew; Democrat or Republican; we come in many varieties, but all are connected to each other. It is good to have differences, but it is also good to celebrate what binds us together and all that we have in common. We are interconnected in an invisible web and can rejoice together or hurt each other in so many ways. To see, know, and value each other—even the stranger—as part of this great tapestry of humanity is a blessing. When God sees us, any of us, God doesn’t see our differences; none of them matter. God only sees a child, his child, because ultimately, in the end, that is what we all are: a child of God, loved beyond all knowing.

Prayer
Loving God, thank you for always loving me. Help me to see others as your beloved ones; help me to look into their eyes and see your eternity, your love. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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