Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
A message we hear frequently is that of diversity. Especially in the culture where I live and work, calls for diversity are common. Sadly, it is often define in an odd way. A relative of mine was recently told that she would not be receiving a job offer at a certain place because she was “not diverse enough.” Rather than claiming discrimination, she shortly obtained what, I trust, will be a better job in a more welcoming environment.
While Christianity is full of people of all sorts of backgrounds, from all nations, people of all ages and experiences, all nations and all languages, Paul’s statements in Romans 15 tell us that we are to encourage one another, not because of our differences, but in spite of our differences. We are exhorted to find the things that we do have in common. Chief among those commonalities is a hope in just one Lord.
Jesus, just one Lord, is the same Lord for all nations. He is the one who can draw his people together in unity and love, despite all their differences. He doesn’t take away the differences. He simply makes us have something in common.
This is an abundant hope. It fills the Church with God’s redeeming love in Christ. And, as this reading is traditionally used in the time of Advent, it is a reminder that when Christ comes he will gather all his people into unity in himself. There is nothing more sure, nothing more comforting, than this hope.
With the Romans, then, may we encourage one another in the hope Christ has given us.
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