Pray for the PCUSA

A reading for Thursday, June 19, 2014: Matthew 18:10-20.

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." It's a very often quoted scripture and yet mostly it's known out of context.

Jesus offers these words of comfort for those that are in conflict. When you disagree, go through the measures that Jesus offers to reconcile. Go to the person with the sin that is between you. Then invite others into the conflict as witnesses towards reconciliation. Finally, take it before the church in hopes of coming together again.

If there is still no resolution, then the one committing the offense is to be treated as one who is not under the authority of the church and it's people. Let them go. But if there is reconciliation, then Jesus says, I am there among the people. That's the goal, don't you think?

For... "If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?"

The point is we are not to expect never to be in conflict. Sin and the divides it causes between us are to be expected as part of the human condition. Sin is defined as anything that keeps us from the knowledge of God. Sin is certainly a failure to adhere to the obligations in scripture (all of them not just the easy ones), but also just as much our lack of grace and mercy towards others. To be Christian is to be in the midst of the messiness of the world in which we live. It's not easy. The good news is that Jesus promises to be among us when we are engaged in reconciling one to another. That's when our Lord promises to be among us... not when everything is easy, but during conflict and the attempts at reconciliation.

I am praying for our PCUSA today. The General Assembly meets in plenary session today, just as it does every two years, and the commissioners that serve our church there are in need of our prayers. There will certainly be disagreement. There will be the accusation of offenses. I hope that there will be mercy and grace. There will be those that testify to the truth and the church will be asked to make a decision.

I don't know all the right answers to the issues that are before us as the church, but may we pray for the presence of Jesus in and through our church today. "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."


Popular Posts