November 08, 2008

Being and Belonging

Romans 14:1-12

So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Romans 14:8


There were a lot of folks in the Roman church who acted as if they were referees in some sporting event. The church was filled with members who judged—even condemned—other members. But Paul throws these self-appointed referees out of the game. They had forgotten that we are all responsible to the supreme Judge: “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Sadly, these critical members of the Roman church had so focused on being faultless that they had forgotten the importance of belonging to God and to each other.

Many people today do the same. Our individualistic society can establish strict standards that determine who is “in” and who is “out.” Belonging is based on performance reviews. Projecting a good reputation to those around us becomes more important than being honest and transparent enough for our neighbors to see our need for grace and love.

The Scriptures call us to a life of holiness and obedience. But holiness begins with an embrace of God’s welcoming grace that creates a people who experience God’s forgiveness and renewal.

The precious grace of “belonging” gives us great comfort. In fact, as a wise catechism teaches, we belong in life and in death to our faithful Savior. That is what makes all the difference.

In our living and dying, in our bodies and souls, we receive the precious gift of belonging to you, Lord Jesus. Give us the gift of that comfort, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Brink

Rev. Harvey Brink has retired from active ministry in the Christian Reformed Church, having served congregations in Michigan, California, Iowa, New Jersey, Illinois, and
Washington. He and his wife Maxine live near their children and grandchildren in western Washington.

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