Take a deep breath, then be still for a moment; then pray, perhaps, Lord God, you who are the source of all truth, wisdom, justice, and love, lead me through this time with you and throughout this day of service to you. Help me constantly to rest my life upon the eternal foundations of yor love and presence. Save me from haste and confusion, from wrongful desire, and the net of evil. Through the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, enlighten, instruct, and guide me all the day long. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.(1)
2) Read Romans 14 – 15:7
Read it quickly; pause and notice what stands out to you.
Read it slowly; again, pause and notice what stands out to you.
Read it slowly, out loud. If your attention drifts, or if you are particularly struck by a particular section of the chapter, read it again, still slowly and out loud.
Notice and reflect on how this passage impacts you today. If you read the chapter yesterday, consider how your day-to-day reactions to the passage compare.
3) For Reflection
This is a good sized passage to read repeatedly. If you were inclined abbreviate the above suggested way to read the text, I encourage you to reconsider and to go back and give the chapter more time.
I’m encouraging you to sit with the text because we tend to gloss over admonitions like these, and not because we easily dismiss questions like whether to eat meat sacrificed to idols. It is easy to skim this chapter because it asks us to do something difficult, something we don’t really want to do. Paul instructs us to stop passing judgement on one another (v. 13). And we like being judgmental. Being judgmental can be downright recreational.
I know that this is a bit of a stretch, but … here’s a potentially positive opportunity provided by our current isolation from one another: we have a brief vacation from folks we find it … challenging? … vexing? … complicated? … to love. All the better, we have an opportunity to pray for them, to cultivate compassion for them, to be on their side. It’s unflattering but true: we find it easier to love those who irk us when they aren’t around.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. It’s okay that it’s hard. Paul concedes that pursuing loving community requires effort: May the God who gives endurance (v. 15:5) …
Who came to mind when you were reading the above For Reflectionsection?
What is it about them that you respond to negatively?
What is it about you that makes it hard to tolerate what you perceive as a negative in them?
What do you think they need? What do you think they are asking for in their behavior?
How could you express caring and support to them? (you don’t have to feel differently than you do about them to send something positive in their direction)
for insight about yourself and those you’ve been thinking about
for the ability to accept your foibles and limitations
for the ability to do the same for those you’ve been thinking about
more broadly, for yourself and your loved ones.
for our church, our community, and our world, particularly in light of the pandemic
Thank God for meeting you, for the opportunity to sit, read, and pray, and pray for an awareness of God's presence through the day(
(1) A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, Job, R.P. Shawchuck, N. 1983. Upper Room
Northminster Presbyterian Church 400 Rancheria Road | Diamond Bar, CA 91765 | PH: (909)861-4715