Romans 1.1-15

                Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

                To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

                First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–

or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

                I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish –hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

 

From Rev. Daniel Harry, Pastor

Community Christian Church, Beech Bottom

The season of Lent is often thought of as a time for introspection and contemplation. Many think the journey through Lent is a strictly personal one. The scripture for today contains two verses that should mitigate such thinking. In verse 12, Paul writes, “…that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” While it may be possible to strengthen one’s faith in isolation, it is much easier in community. One’s faith is strengthened both by the encouragement of others and by the act of encouraging others. The guardian angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life” caused George to jump in the river to save him thus preventing George’s suicide.

Our faith is bolstered when we help others through a crisis. However, it is not just individuals who need to look outward in this season. In verse 14, Paul reminds us the obligation to increase faith extends to the whole world. In Lent, the community of faith should find strength in helping other communities spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. As each community touches another, a greater community is formed and it is strengthened by providing succor to all who are under trial.

 

Help us, O God, to see the wider picture,

to find you in finding the other. Amen.

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