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Indictments (and other poisons)

If you read or study the New Testament much you are probably used to having the Apostle Paul in his letters tell people what they should and shouldn't be doing, and what it means to be the church, or live a godly life. I, at least, think of the Gospels more as books that tell the story of Jesus. They are stories and histories, if you will, as opposed to Paul's attempt at spiritual formation and digging into day to day issues.

This Sunday, September 10, 2023, our Gospel Lesson is Matthew 18:15-20. This is not story telling. This is instruction! (In fact my Wednesday afternoon Bible Study group told me I should get my stool out again and just tell you how it is. <g>)

And here, I guess, is how it is. If you want to be stuck on yourself, and think the world revolves around you, and if you want to live in a world where everybody is concerned mostly with their own stuff, then expect to hear nothing in the news except about who's suing who. (Sound familiar?)

Paul in 1 Corinthians 6 says, "Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, but a believer goes to court against a believer —and before unbelievers at that? ... To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?"

That, I would say, is pretty strong language relating to how we settle problems or disagreements with one another. And, I'm pretty sure what Paul has in mind here is Jesus' teaching in this Sunday's Gospel Lesson. "If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If you are listened to, you have regained that one. . ." There is another way! 

So Sunday. Yes, we'll walk through this "other way." You know it. It's pretty straight forward. All that is required is that you be able to get over yourself. But what I really want to contemplate together is if we as the Church of Jesus Christ have a real calling here and now - in our present political realities - to witness to this other way in all we say and do.

See you Sunday!

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

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