God Pause for Wednesday, 9/10/2014

Luther Seminary God Pause

Wednesday, 9/10/2014 Reading: Romans 14:1-13

Several years ago my congregation spent an entire year focusing on creating a place for all to belong. As part of that year's focus, we discovered that there are many people who do not feel comfortable in the church. Perhaps they are divorced, and all they see in church are family units. Perhaps their race has set them apart. Perhaps they have a son or daughter who is gay. There are countless ways people can feel as if they don't quite fit in--or that they will be judged, condemned or worse.

Paul encourages the Romans to stop passing judgment on one another, for when they do so they are opening up avenues for the other--and for themselves--to stumble and fall. The church should be a place of welcome and belonging, a place where not all people think alike, but all can come together in the name of Jesus. "Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another?" Paul asks. What might be one simple action you could take this week to make your church a more welcoming place for all to belong?

Dear God, too often it is easier to pass judgment than to love and accept. Help me to welcome. Help me to encourage. Help me to love. Amen.>

Lisa Kipp Pastor, Zumbro Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn. Master of Divinity, 2013

Romans 14:1-13 (NRSV)

1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those 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. 4 Who 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. 5 Some 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. 6 Those 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. 7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If 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. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 Why 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. 11 For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God." 12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God. 13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.

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