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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, May 26, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Romans 15:1–13          

We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NRSV)

Paul’s writing doesn’t seem particularly unique in this passage. Instead he summarizes what has been stated time and time again throughout the Bible: take care of others. Jesus never said “Jesus first!” He put others before himself, and we as Christians are called to do that for others. The words are simple enough, but still we struggle. It is an issue that we continue to battle today.

With the spring weather I have been taking more walks around my neighborhood. I always appreciate the beauty in the diversity of people who cross my path as I wander my neighborhood. I smile when I see the “All are welcome here” signs in multiple languages hanging from people’s windows. But then I am reminded that I live in a world that still requires the reminder that Paul gives us—that while I can rejoice in the diversity around me, I am still challenged to engage with those people to form a stronger community.

Thank you for the reminder to live life accepting and encouraging those around me. Thank you for a reminder that helping those around me only makes my community stronger. Help me to look past my own comforts to the needs of those around me. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Youth Mission Coordinator

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