Archive for July 7th, 2007

Do Unto Others

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Romans 14 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Christen Peters):

I have spent days on end trying to pick part of this chapter as one of my “favorite” scriptures. I can’t seem, though, to find a way to take even one of these verses without the others.

When asked about the greatest of the commandments, Jesus responded:

37 He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

38 This is the greatest and first commandment.

39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22)

When I read Romans 14, I see practical examples of “love your neighbor as yourself”. So often we get caught up in details. Church is on Sunday…not Saturday, not Wednesday, and certainly not on the fifth Tuesday of the month. Communion should be reserved for high holidays…or every time we worship the Lord…or only shared in by our holy leaders. All food is okay for consumption…or only kosher food…or only food organically-grown by good Christian women using donkeys (in honor of the Virgin Mary) to plow the land. We should only socialize with fine, upstanding, well-dressed Christians who look, think, talk, and act just like we do. Or should we? Why all of the limits? Why do we feel compelled to make everyone do everything just like we do?

I think Romans 14 compels us to drop those prejudices. Romans 14 insists that we look at how we would want someone else to respect our ways and beliefs and rituals, then demands that we extend the same courtesy we would like to be given. Romans 14 makes it clear that judging our fellow beings is not our job. On the contrary, our only job is to keep clear the path that our fellow beings must follow in their lives. Romans 14 insists that we look at what is really important — love your neighbor as yourself, give as you would like to receive, view as you would like to be viewed, and requires that we do so.

Thought for the day: My ways are what work for me, but God made us all uniquely wonderful. Help me to extend to my fellow humans all of the acceptance, patience, and love I would like to receive from them.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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