From the Pastor

The Epistle from Paul’s letter to the Roman Church read last Sunday contains a message for our time. Let me share several thoughts about that text with you.

Paul offers wisdom for daily living in his remarks. His congregation faced persecution and conflict. Life was not easy for early Christians. Living a Christian life challenged their faith and values daily.

First, Paul says, “let love be genuine.” It’s easy to slip into fake love. The word can mean many things. Paul wants our love to be grounded in and defined by the cross.  He wants real love, not polite nor superficial love.

Secondly, we are told to hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good. Separating good from evil is a difficult thing to do. My German cousins and aunts and uncles lived through World War II under the Nazi Regime. Imagine what it was for them to hold on to what is good. It’s the same problem today. We have to separate the good from the bad and hold onto what is right.

We are called to love each other with mutual affection. It’s easy to let anger rage inside ourselves and hold grudges. The negative overwhelms the positive. Mutual affection must bind us together if we are to survive as a Christian community. Divisions come easily and heal slowly.

Next Paul reminds us not to lag in zeal but be ardent in spirit. Have you ever heard the term burn out? I hear it all the time in the church. People complain they are burned out, but Christ says be ardent in spirit. I want everyone who has not been to church recently to ask themselves if they are ardent in spirit.

Paul admonishes us to bless those who persecute us. Now that’s tough to do, but that’s what Christ asks of us.

We are encouraged to live in harmony with one another.

Furthermore, we are to take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. Think about your ideals. Now reflect on what is noble in the sight of all. Consider the message and example of Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandi or Sister Theresa of Calcutta. Have definable ideals. Sit down and write out for yourself what you consider to be noble and post it someplace where you will see that message from one day to the next. Ask yourself if you live up to those goals on a daily basis.

This lesson was written in Romans 12: 9-21. Read the text and discuss what the words mean practically with your spouse. A little Bible study may make a big difference in your life.