December 7, Monday One Mind, One Voice
Romans 15:4-13 (NRSV)
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Advent - a time of hope and anticipation. Everyone is focused forward. We find ourselves leaning in to look more intently or leaning close to listen more carefully. Our hearts beat a little faster and our cheeks are flushed with excitement. We look forward to seeing our friends and family. But what about those unexpected guests or unplanned visitors? They also evoke responses of increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and anxiety.
Our scripture today encourages us to welcome and accept one another as Christ accepts and welcomes each of us. Living in harmony with one mind, one voice...but maybe with differing accents. As we watch the news or check our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we see many examples of them and us. War in Syria, Iraq, Sudan. Migrant and refugee crises throughout the Middle East and Europe. Educational discrimination toward Roma students in Slovakia. Food insecurity in Arkansas. These all seem like insurmountable problems, but underneath it all is a glimmer of hope.
Identify the others in your community. How can you share hope with those who don't know how to define hope?
From The Voice New Testament - Romans 15:13:
"I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your life with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit." Amen.
By Dianne McNary, CBF Field Personnel, Slovakia
Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock
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