Exodus 12:1-14 and Psalm 149
Ezekiel 33:7-11 and Psalm 119:33-40
Peace be with you!
The number nine-one-one (911) has been drilled into our memory as soon as we knew our name, street address, and other important information. Nine-one-one represents a hope for those in trouble – caught in a fire, a car accident, a fight, a robbery, etc. No matter what hope was on the way – someone was on the way to help. No amount of danger was too great to take away that hope.
But a decade ago that hope and security nine-one-one gave us was taken away. We were attacked as a nation on September 11, 2001 (9/11/2001) as the Twin Towers came down as a result of terrorism. From then on, nine-one-one became a number that introduced insecurities to our general sense of safety as a nation. We labeled any Muslim, Arabic, or the like as terrorists who would attack us again. Any Muslim, Arabic, or the like were robed of their freedoms as Americans because others who looked like them attacked us.
Airports added security to the point that some individuals refuse to fly, because they feel their privacy is opposed. Individuals are hassle towards the Muslim, Arabic, or the like and took away their freedoms as Americans, because their counter-parts in other nations attacked us, including them, as a nation and as Americans.
It has taken a decade to mend the relationships that United States citizens have with the Muslim, Arabic, or the like citizens, and the trust issues are still there. This is what Paul is talking about when he says owe no one nothing but love (Romans 13:8).
When we love each other, we are fulfilling the Ten Commandments and the laws. We are building relationships with others as well as God the Father where love is the foundation of these relationships.
Paul names four laws from the Ten Commandments (Romans 13:9):
1. You shall not commit adultery;
2. You shall not murder;
3. You shall not steal;
4. You shall not covet (to want anything or anyone that is not yours).
When we commit these acts, we break relationships because we loose the trust, loyalty, and compassion individuals had for us. We loose it all with one act.
However, when we keep the above four laws, we continue to build the bonds with the individuals who we are in relationships with. We end up caring about others’ interests and their well-being. This love is held in the highest regard in any relationship; especially the relationship individuals have with God the Father.
Paul calls us to be awake (Romans 13:11). The world may try to get us to conform to its ways, but we are to live through the good news of Jesus Christ and follow his law to love each other and be in a community. As Jesus’ disciples, we are a community demonstrating God’s love through our actions by the way we live.
Salvation has been here since Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection for the forgiven of sins; salvation is yet to come on the Day of Judgment. These two statements seem like they contradict each other, but they are both true because salvation is two-fold. We already have salvation through Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection, which gives us the forgiveness of sins and the ability to enter heaven, even though we are sinful beings. The second fold of salvation will come on the Day of Judgment when we are allowed to enter heaven (Hultgren 2011).
When we keep the commandments and love our neighbor who is anyone we come into contract with, we are sharing God’s love and deepening our relationships with each other and God the Father. By doing so, we are living out the good news of Jesus Christ and are in fellowship with each other.
As a Christian community, we are to support each other as we renew our faith and remember our baptism on a daily basis. We are forgiven as a community as we remember our baptisms and take part in Communion. We are all forgiven and receive salvation through Jesus.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your commitment to love us, even though we are sinners. Help us to remember our baptisms and the honor of taking Communion. Thank you for your grace. Amen.
Hultgren, Arland J. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Commentary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011.
Please feel free to answer the reflective questions through comments. Please agree to disagree and be respectable to each other. Please take a moment, if you have not already, to sign the covenant. You can answer all or just one of the questions.
1. Who is your neighbor?
2. How do you express love to your neighbors?