Scripture: Romans 15: 4-13
Key Verses: Romans 15:5-7 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
Reflection: This is the gospel in a nutshell. Christ has welcomed us, all of us, and brought us home to God and to each other. Have you heard the song HOME by Philip Philips? If you have not, listen to it sometime. Every time I hear that song, I think of the church that is my home and is home for many people. It sounds like sentimentality, but it is about this welcome. To open our arms to those who otherwise are strangers and even enemies is nothing short of a miracle of grace. The experience of that welcome is the way we learn that “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
In every setting in which this welcome is offered, whether personal or institutional, the character of the persons offering welcome is crucial if it is to be life-giving. Paul continues to give instructions on how to be the church with discernment, wisdom, flexibility, humility, and hospitality. There is blessing and mutuality in welcome. In our task-oriented culture, this requires us to rethink our priorities as we seek to welcome one another into our families. This may mean welcoming people into the ordinary parts of our lives instead of creating a big social event. It might also mean being the church within our homes. Many times our families get the worst of us because we are tired and they are the most forgiving. Home. Who and where is your home?
Prayer: With arms of welcome, God you invite me into a place where I can risk being real. May your love empower me to reach out beyond myself and my world to be a place of welcome as the body of Christ in this world. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].