Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 11: Year 2
“Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds.” (Romans 14: 5)
Paul is teaching Jews and Gentiles alike that all should accept the way the other understands and worships God in their own way. This is still a valuable lesson for us today. This applies not only in the wide world of religions, but also within our Christian religion itself. Whether we are Baptist or Episcopalian, or Roman Catholic, or Presbyterian, or Lutheran, or United Methodist, or Non Denominational, or Amish, we all worship our Lord Jesus in our own way. There is one Jesus but more than one way of having a loving interpretation of, and relationship with, him.
I have dear relatives and close friends who are not Christians. Some are Jews, some are Muslims and some are of faith-walks I don’t fully understand. But they believe in a Higher Power in some way. I also know a few so-called, self proclaimed atheist. I fully believe the latter will come to believe on the other side of this life. While our walk in faith helps us to navigate this current life, our faith is our preparation for eternal life, at least that’s my Christian understanding.
Paul will go on to say that, “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14: 7 – 8) These words are part of the opening words used at funerals in the Episcopal Church. Pretty much all funeral services are for the assembled living. The deceased have already moved on. So it is while we are living to the Lord, that is, living in the “dash,” (date born “dash” date died) that we should not shape our faith, but rather, let our faith shape us. Being convinced in our own minds does not mean never changing our minds. Rather, it means being open minded to the other’s way as well as the possibilities for one’s own way.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John