Scripture Reading — Romans 12:1-5
Offer your bodies as living sacrifices ... to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1—
Our daughters were not excited about going back to school. Our oldest was going to a new middle school, losing most of her grade-school friends. And our seven-year-old twin daughters would be in separate classrooms for the first time.
Change and new situations can be unsettling without someone to show the way and help ease the stress. Fortunately each of the children's teachers provided expert guidance on what to expect from the teacher and the class. They made the new school year much easier for our daughters.
Paul provided perspective for a church that was not familiar with living as a Jesus community. People in Rome saw each other as competitors who would fight and lie to gain any advantage. Getting ahead was the only thing that mattered.
But Paul said we must see everyone through the lens of divine grace. God offered us mercy instead of judgment, so we must offer each other mercy also.
A song I sang as a young child brings Paul's teaching home: "Not my mother nor my brother but it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer." Those words describe our need to pray daily for God's mercy and to help us show mercy to others. The church becomes the community that practices life the Jesus way.
<p>Thank you, Jesus, for your precious mercy. Empower us to show mercy to our neighbors, friends, and enemies today. Help us to see how we can help others. Amen.</p>