Morning Prayer: 14 September – Romans 12:9-16 ~ love in the family

Reading through Romans

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening sentence

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
__________

A reading from Romans: Romans 12:9-16 (NLT)

Unity8

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
__________

Reflection: Romans 12:9-16 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)

The will of God for changed relationships: (Romans 12:1– 15: 13)

Now all believers, irrespective of their ethnic origin, are brothers and sisters in the one international family of God, and so all have precisely the same vocation to be the holy, committed, humble, loving and conscientious people of God…. God’s grace, far from encouraging or condoning sin, is the spring and foundation of righteous conduct.

(Romans 12:9-16) Our relationship to one another: love in the family of God

Paul’s recipe for love in the family of God has twelve components.

1. Sincerity – ‘without hypocrisy’…. Love and hypocrisy exclude one another. ‘If love is the sum of virtue, and hypocrisy the epitome of vice,’ wrote John Murray, ‘what a contradiction to bring these together!’

2. Discernment – ‘loathing of evil’, while ‘clinging to what is good’…. Love is so passionately devoted to the beloved object that it hates every evil which is incompatible with his or her highest welfare.

3. Affection – ‘typically, love of parent for child’…. applied originally to blood relationships in the human family, but Paul reapplies them to the tender, warm affection which should unite the members of the family of God.

4. Honor – ‘esteem others more highly than yourself’… or ‘outdo one another in showing honor’. In either case we are to accord to each other the highest possible honor.

5. Enthusiasm – not to ‘be lazy’ in zeal,… be ‘aglow with the Spirit’. The picture is not so much of a glowing lamp as of a boiling, bubbling pot…. Practical commitment to serving ‘the Lord’ will keep zeal rooted in reality.

6. Patience – ‘joyful in hope’, ‘patient in affliction’, ‘faithful in prayer’…. Our confident Christian expectation of the Lord’s return and the glory to follow… is the source of abiding joy. But it also calls for patience, as meanwhile we endure tribulation and persevere in prayer.

7. Generosity – ‘share in people’s needs and sufferings’, or ‘share out our resources with them.’ In the early Jerusalem church… they shared their possessions with those more needy than themselves.

8. Hospitality – ‘pursue’ hospitality. Origen commented: ‘We are not just to receive the stranger when he comes to us, but actually to inquire after, and look carefully for, strangers, to pursue them and search them out everywhere, lest perchance somewhere they may sit in the streets or lie without a roof over their heads.’

9. Good will – ‘bless’ those who curse us, ‘pray’ for them and ‘do good’ to them. There is no better way to express our positive wishes for our enemies’ welfare than to turn them into prayer and into action….  The call to bless [our persecutors] is a necessary challenge to Christian love.

10. Sympathy – Love never stands aloof from other people’s joys or pains. Love identifies with them, sings with them and suffers with them. Love enters deeply into their experiences and their emotions, their laughter and their tears, and feels solidarity with them, whatever their mood.

11. Harmony – ‘be of the same mind’, and so ‘live in agreement with one another’…. Since Christians have a renewed mind, it should also be a common mind, sharing the same basic convictions and concerns. Without this common mind we cannot live or work together in harmony.

12. Humility –  Be willing to associate with people of low position…. As JB puts it, ‘Never be condescending, but make real friends with the poor.’

What a comprehensive picture of Christian love Paul gives us! Love is sincere, discerning, affectionate and respectful. It is both enthusiastic and patient, both generous and hospitable, both benevolent and sympathetic. It is marked by both harmony and humility. Christian churches would be happier communities if we all loved one another like that.
__________

“For The Lost & Lonely”

For the lost and lonely / For the hopeless outcast / You have come for me / You have come for us all / For the victim and the villain / The judge and the accuser / To the right and wrong / You have come for us all

For you have come / In grace and love, / Acceptance and with peace / For you have come / With mercy for our tears / Embracing all our fears

For the poor and homeless / The refugee and orphan, / For the rich and poor / You have come for us all / For the proud and righteous, / For the strong and mighty / Those who have no need / You still come for us all.

For you have come / In grace and love, / Acceptance and with peace / For you have come / With mercy for our tears / Embracing all our fears
__________

Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. This is one of the most difficult commands for me.
    “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.”

%d bloggers like this: