Prepare to listen as you light the 2 purple candles. Pray: ‘To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!’
Prayerfully Read. Romans 15:7-13
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.
‘Welcome one another.’ Not in the normal friendly fashion but ‘just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.’ ‘Welcome one another’ when the ‘one another’ goes beyond our comfortable and known communities of faith. Paul emphasizes this inclusive welcome with four OT quotations, all related to worship (glorifying God) and Gentiles (meaning the stranger, the alien, the immigrant in our midst). It is these strangers, people unlike us that we are to welcome and worship with. When we do, we will truly welcome Christ and experience his presence among us. Welcoming Jesus means welcoming all those he loves and receives, regardless of race, tribe, creed, gender identity.
When we live this way of welcoming the stranger we’ll experience the blessing Paul pronounces in the final verse—filled with joy and peace in believing; abounding in hope through the Spirit’s power within.
How can you welcome the other as Christ has welcomed me for the glory of God?
Respond to Jesus
I’m deeply grateful, Lord Christ, that you have welcomed me into your family. I’m also deeply ashamed that I so often fail to show the same welcome to people around me. Through the power of your Spirit within, help me step out of my comfort zone and reach out to those I’d normally avoid. And all for your glory, Amen.
Go live obediently in the world by welcoming the stranger just as Christ welcomed you.