THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Friday, March 19th
So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all,
and especially for those of the family of faith.
Galatians 6:10 (NRSV)
Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Romans 14:19 (NRSV)
What should be done then, my friends?
When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.
Let all things be done for building up.
1 Corinthians 14:26 (NRSV)
These three verses are all parts of larger passages that describe how we are to build up one another. In Galatians, Paul is instructing the people (and us) to help one another especially in times of trial or sin – to not judge, to be gentle with our words, to regard ourselves with humility, to bear one another’s burdens. Romans 14 addresses the issue at that time of what food was acceptable to eat – what was forbidden and what was holy. Paul tells us not to judge others by what they eat, not to cause another to stumble, and to remember that the kingdom is more than food or drink; the kingdom is righteousness and peace (17). And in 1 Corinthians, he is actually talking about the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues but also warning of its shortcomings. He invites us all to share our unique spiritual gifts and together, build up one another.
Our spiritual invitation for today then is to Let us build up one another. I don’t find this very timely for today, do you? 😉 Dear goodness, we can so easily become divisive over any number of issues in which we disagree! I am a bit relieved and comforted to know that people were divisive back in Paul’s time as well.
Perhaps it is human nature, but we know it is not the nature of Christ Jesus. As his followers, we are called to a higher nature. We are called to build up one another – even when we disagree. We are meant to live as a faithful community of people who love, uplift, and regard one another in such a way that others will be drawn to Jesus. How might we do so?
Paul gives us several instructions to help foster our mutual upbuilding. We are to be gentle, humble, gracious, compassionate. We are to pursue and regard the gifts of the kingdom over the laws of the religious. We are to share what will bless and not burden. All of these have a connecting quality – that we see one another as equals; equally broken, equally blessed, equally beloved. We will all stumble at one time or another. We will all need a helping hand. Let us offer the good help, the uplifting word, the tender kindness when we can.
May God let us build up one another today. May we refrain from judgment or ridicule, and strive for grace and compassion. May we refrain from petty quarrels, and strive for the joy of the kingdom. May we refrain from reacting in anger, and strive to speak the truth in love.
Our reading for Monday will be Ephesians 4:22-32.
Bible verses taken from https://classic.biblegateway.com/