This is the reflection of Sunday's second lesson that I shared with the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. What are your thoughts? Please share them in the comment section.
Second Reading: Romans 14:1-12
those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over
opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only
vegetables. 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and
those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed
them. 4Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is
before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the
Lord is able to make them stand.
5Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
7We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
This passage is all about welcome: the things that prevent it and what to do about that. As I was working on Sunday’s sermon, the song “All are Welcome,” (ELW 641) came on. How apropos!
The Roman Christians were struggling with division in their churches. Some interpreted the law liberally (those who ate anything) and those who were very strict in their interpretation (those who ate only vegetables). Some were prideful because of their degree of obedience and looked down on those who were more liberal, while the liberal Christians scoffed at those who were more conservative.
Another issue was the observance of holy days. Again, you had those who observed and those who didn’t. Some considered themselves to be more spiritual because of their observance. We see with this issue too, a conservative-liberal split.
It all comes down to not passing judgment on each other. We are God’s servants and it is to God that we will be accountable.
All Are Welcome
Let us build a
Where love can dwell
And all can safely live
A place where
Saints and children tell
How hearts learn to forgive
Built of hopes
and dreams and visions
Rock of faith and vault of grace
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions
welcome, all are welcome
All are welcome in this place. (Marty Haugen)