Luther Seminary God Pause
Friday, 9/5/2014 Reading: Matthew 18:15-20
Unfortunately, conflict is not a 21st century invention. Jesus, too, dealt with dissension in his own ranks and knew that to be in relationship with anyone is risky and vulnerable. In verses 17-18, Jesus is reminding us that we are created in God's image and calls on us to reflect the love and grace of God at all times and in all places. God's love for us is risky and vulnerable.
Jesus spends much of his time with those deemed unlovable and outcast from the community, such as the Gentiles and the tax collectors. Jesus here commands us to treat those who offend us as a Gentile or a tax collector--that is, much like those whom Jesus continually reached out to with love. Jesus also reminds us that what the church forgives (or doesn't) on earth, will be forgiven (or not) in heaven. If the church is comprised of people made in God's image then the church should reflect God's desire for absolute and radical reconciliation with all of creation.
God, may we risk our own comfortableness to reveal your love and forgiveness to a broken and hurting world. May we practice and receive forgiveness from one another and may all of our interactions reflect your unconditional grace for us all. We pray that we may reflect the light of Christ into all the dark places in the world. Amen.>
Brigett Weier Englewood, Colo. Master of Divinity, 2012
Matthew 18:15-20 (NRSV)
15 "If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."
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