Formations lesson for Feb. 23: Community - The Pilgrim and Communion of Care
February 7 2003 by Robbin B. Mundy , Leviticus 19:15-19; Matthew 25:31-40

Formations lesson for Feb. 23: Community - The Pilgrim and Communion of Care | Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Formations lesson for Feb. 23: Community - The Pilgrim and Communion of Care

By Robbin B. Mundy Leviticus 19:15-19; Matthew 25:31-40

There is a standard for the Christian community. These passages implicitly call us back to the Ten Commandments. They even tug at our understanding of the sins of both commission and omission. But to really get at the text we have to be willing to open both our minds and hearts to the deeper truth, the real lesson, the explicit word of God.

Leviticus 19:15

There is not to be one set of rules for the rich and another set for the poor. These rules are a standard for living for the Christian community.

Look at a stewardship example. Is there justice if the individual who makes $15,000 a year tithes $1,500, and the individual who makes $150,000 a year contributes $10,000? Likewise, is there justice if the individual who makes $150,000 a year tithes $15,000, and the individual who makes $15,000 contributes $500?

There are arguments of hardship that could be offered on both sides of the issue. I only begin with this illustration to make the point this verse makes: "do not be partial to the rich or to the poor, there is a standard for all Christians."

What areas in your life do you allow an injustice because you fail to follow the standard?

Leviticus 19:16

Making false statements about another or intentionally misrepresenting them is a sin. Slander damages both the victim and the evildoer. When blood is shed, even emotional blood, there will be no profit. God says so. If we doubt, the last phrase reminds us of the authority, "I am the Lord."

Leviticus 19:17

There should be no hate in your heart for anyone, not even one of your kin - your Christian community. Admonish or show your disapproval when your "neighbor" uses poor judgment. Be careful. Check it out and speak directly, lest you fall into the category of slander. If you are aware of wrongdoings and remain silent, you will be found guilty. In the spirit of a healthy moral standard and good for the community of faith, speak directly to the individual.

Leviticus 19:18-19

I hear my mother's voice over and over. One of the things she taught us was, "vengeance is mine says the Lord."

Don't you just wish some things had not been included in the Bible? The standard for the Christian community disallows holding grudges for each other. Is there anyone in the faith community with which you need to clear the air?

This passage also reminds us to, "Love your neighbor as yourself." God expects us to address our community with mercy, grace, respect, courtesy, kindness and a healthy moral attitude.

Matthew 25:31

Matthew draws his readers back to the "coming of the Son of Man." This text sets the stage for self-examination - even judgment. All the glory and majesty we can imagine will come to be and so will the realization of our response to God through our response to others. Therefore, as Christians, God is the first recipient of all our actions.

Matthew 25:32-36

Matthew reminds us of the judgment we will face. Who are "all the nations?" Some see this as referring to a universal judgment and others believe "all" represents Christians. When Christians face judgment it is universally understood that our judgment will be dealt individually and not corporately. Will we be divided according to our response to each other as felt through Christ? When Christians respond to the community then we have responded to the Son of Man.

Matthew 25:37-40

Who is "the least of these?" It is God. It is God via children, the poor, the uncommitted, the limited, the weak, the needy, the proud, and it is you when life gets hard. None of us are exempt from difficulties; all of us have a responsibility to respond to each other with love and care.

Conclusion

Surrounded by a group of children on the first night of camp one summer, we played a game where a message was passed from one child to another and then another. By the end of the line, the message was a little confusing. We agreed to play the game all week, but to play it with God's ears and pass messages with God's mouth.

The game is worth playing in real life. Our response to others is always to God and through God. That is how we will be judged.

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2/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Robbin B. Mundy , Leviticus 19:15-19; Matthew 25:31-40 | with 0 comments
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