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Welcome each other… the way Christ welcomed you

August 9, 2023

Daily Scripture

Romans 14:13-19, 15:1-7

13 So stop judging each other. Instead, this is what you should decide: never put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of your brother or sister. 14 I know and I’m convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is wrong to eat in itself. But if someone thinks something is wrong to eat, it becomes wrong for that person. 15 If your brother or sister is upset by your food, you are no longer walking in love. Don’t let your food destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 And don’t let something you consider to be good be criticized as wrong. 17 God’s kingdom isn’t about eating food and drinking but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever serves Christ this way pleases God and gets human approval.
19 So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up….

15:1 We who are powerful need to be patient with the weakness of those who don’t have power, and not please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good in order to build them up. 3 Christ didn’t please himself, but, as it is written, The insults of those who insulted you fell on me [Psalm 69:9]. 4 Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. 6 That way you can glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ together with one voice.
7 So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God’s glory.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Those of us who choose to worship and serve at Resurrection may automatically think of a big building when we hear the word “church.” But Paul’s letters (including his masterful letter to Roman Christians) went to a group of smaller “house churches” (cf. Romans 16:3-5—more like the gatherings we call “small groups”). They didn’t always get along or agree on how best to live their faith. It’s okay to differ on the details, Paul said. The central, non-negotiable command is to love.

  • “Welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you.” In what ways does that set a high, serious standard for us? Could you see Christ’s model as setting a “low” norm for acceptance, one even a woman taken in adultery or a thief on a cross could pass? Which do you find more challenging: the “height” or the “lowness” of Paul’s standard of relating to each other “in the same way that Christ also welcomed you”?
  • “Stop judging each other.” Do you believe there’s a difference between having your own tastes or opinions, even strongly held ones, and passing judgment on someone who does things differently than you would? How did Paul call on believers, as members of the family of faith, to act toward each other? How would that apply to the risky business of joining a small group with someone you might find a bit annoying?

Dear God, when I behave in ways that fall short of your dreams for my life, you offer me your grace and accepting love. You call me to treat others the same way you’ve treated me. Help me to keep living into that calling. Amen.

GPS Insights

Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek serves as the Director of Discipleship at Resurrection Downtown. She loves to travel and has been to 49 states, 11 countries and lived in Vancouver, Canada for grad school! When not gallivanting all over the world, she lives in Liberty with her husband, Aaron, and two sons, Owen and Porter.

Several years ago, I traveled to New York City by myself. While I was there, I decided to visit a church I had heard about. I had never been there before and didn’t quite know what to expect. As I entered the space, I quickly found a seat and soon enough some people sat down next to me. Before long a woman turned to me and introduced herself.  She lived in the city and regularly attended this church, and I shared how I was visiting by myself from Missouri.  The service began and we wrapped up our conversation. 

Afterwards, I turned to say goodbye but as I did, she invited me out to lunch with her and a friend! After several days of very little interaction with people, I quickly said “Yes!”. Off we went to a ramen place she knew and loved. We chatted and shared more of our stories throughout our time together. After lunch we walked through Central Park which then led to the office building that she worked out of. It just so happened to have an amazing view of the city and park. By all accounts it was an amazing afternoon! 

I think back on this as a simple, yet profound act of welcoming. A quick “hello” would have been fine, but by going a little further and extending an invite to me, my day was changed. I still remember this encounter almost 10 years later! May we be people who are ready to extend a welcome to those we come across today.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.