Luther Seminary God Pause
Wednesday, 9/3/2014 Reading: Romans 13:8-14
How does the neighborhood that hosts your congregation know that you are there? How does your congregation walk beside those around the church building (or where you gather for worship, teaching, service, et cetera)? How does your congregation love its neighbors? Love is a concept that in our culture tends to mean some fluffy, gushy or irrational emotion, but for Paul it's not an emotion at all--it has to do with our actions. Love is not what we feel for one another but how we act toward our neighbors, even those whom we don't know. The commandments that Paul lists in verses 9-10 are not emotionally based but are about the flourishing of the community.
When we act in love, everyone benefits and harm is not inflicted upon even the most vulnerable. Love builds up the community and reveals the love and grace of Jesus Christ in its midst. Paul is clear that this is our mission as the church on earth, and our mission is urgent. There is no time for darkness and actions that harm one another; we must lay those things aside in order to engage in actions that lead to all people fulfilling the law of loving God and loving our neighbors each and every day.
Dear Jesus, may we live in your law of love, doing no harm to our neighbor. May our actions, thoughts and words only serve to build up and love those around us. When all of your people are loved and cared for, your law is fulfilled. May all of our neighbors have food, shelter, clothing and community. We are called to bring your hope to those who are in hopelessness. We pray for the whole world to overflow with your love and mercy. Amen.>
Bridgett Weier Englewood, Colo. Master of Divinity, 2012
Romans 13:8-14 (NRSV)
8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
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