Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 8, 2018. Romans 15:1-7

St. Paul urges us in today’s Epistle reading, “We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”

He extends this to our neighbors, “Let each of us please our neighbor…”

Then he prays,“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another…” And to do this, “in keeping with Christ Jesus.”

Now think about the people around you.

First, in your family. That difficult son or daughter – even a grown-up one – that sibling who gets into your stuff or breaks your toys, that irritating adult brother or sister, in-law, parent, uncle, aunt or cousin.

It’s not always easy to put up with them, is it? St. Paul teaches us that we can do it through the grace of Christ Jesus.

What about the neighbor who irritates you? Constantly borrowing things – not bringing them back until you insist. Having loud parties or playing loud music – especially the kind you don’t like. Not keeping his yard as mown and weed-free as yours; or not shoveling snow from his sidewalk

It’s even harder to put up with them than with family members, isn’t it?
We can do it through the grace of Christ Jesus.

What about the store clerk? Talking on a cell phone while ringing up your purchases; telling you he doesn’t know where something is in the store and not offering to find it for you.

Or the other motorists not using turn signals, or poking along at a much slower speed than you

It isn’t always easy to be patient with them, is it? However, through the grace of Jesus Christ you can do it.

Stop and think what the other person may be experiencing – try to understand the other person. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. For example, maybe that motorist who is speeding is responding to some family emergency.

Jesus Christ gives us his grace and does so freely. He puts up with us and our failings – our failures to pray often, our little sins committed over and over again, our being caught up with the material needs of our lives instead of the spiritual ones.

He knows us and our weaknesses and that’s why he is always eager to give us his grace so that we are strong, so that Jesus Christ may grant to us “the endurance and encouragement to think in harmony with one another…”

Thinking in harmony in St. Paul’s times was not about a rigid uniformity of thought and expression. It was a thoughtful consideration of the other person’s views, although not necessitating accepting those views. It’s being civil to one another – something that is more and more lacking in our contemporary American culture.

Let us all pray that the grace of Jesus Christ may make us able to put up with the failings of the weak among us, …that we accept one another, then, as Christ accepted [us], for the glory of God.”


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