I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Galatians 6:7-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8 If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
The affirmation of faith of the United Church of Canada, which we recite most Sundays in our worship, says, “We are called to be the church: to celebrate God’s presence, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.”
When we speak of the church, of course, we are not talking about a building. We have been reminded of this in a dramatic way during the pandemic. You never see in scripture phrases like “go to church” or “at the church” because the church is not a place, it is a people. The Greek word translated “church” is ecclesia, a word that literally means “called out” and is the word meaning “assembly.” The church consists of those who are called out of all the places where they reside to come together and then to return to be in ministry.
Galatians 6:10 speaks of “The household of faith” or “family of faith.”
Christians are referred to as brothers or sisters 90 times in scripture. We are called to care for one another as family or a community in the very best sense of that word.
As a church, we celebrate that God is with us. As brothers and sisters, we remember that God’s love is like that of the most loving parent.
As a church, we are called to love and serve others. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “You (Y’all, actually, it is plural in the Greek) are the body of Christ and parts of each other.” The Body of Christ is a power image that reminds us that the Church is to be the very continuation of the ministry of Christ in the world today.
When there is a need, Jesus doesn’t send angels, he sends the church.
We are called to seek justice and resist evil. Back to today’s reading. Paul writes that we reap what we sow. “So,” he writes, “let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”
Very clearly, we are called to work for the good of all people.
One more thought: that image of the Church as the family of faith says something about how all are welcome. Think about the followers of Jesus and those who experienced the earthly ministry of Jesus:
There was a place for Thomas, who had his doubts and took a little more convincing than some of the others. The Church is called to have doors open to everyone, including those who have their doubts and questions.
There was a place for Simon Peter, who denied even knowing Jesus after Jesus’ arrest and was in need of forgiveness, the healing of memories, and a new beginning. The Church is called to have doors open to everyone, including those who are in need of forgiveness, the healing of memories, and new beginnings.
There was a place for Matthew the tax collector, the outsider, and his friends. The Church is called to have doors open to everyone, including those who are lonely, guilty, outcasts, and hurting.
There was a place for Zacchaeus, who was seeking Jesus. The Church is called to have doors open to everyone, including those who are seeking Jesus.
There was a place for the Woman at the Well, who was a Samaritan and very different from Jesus and his disciples. The Church is called to have doors open to everyone, including those who are different from ourselves.
There was a place for the Woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee, who was labeled “a sinner.” The Church is called to have doors open to everyone, including those who have been labeled.
We are called to be the church—to come together for worship and community and learning and praying and giving and for going out to serve—to be God’s people in the world.
To quote Zan Holmes, church is always a “come and go affair.”
There is a lot of theology woven in to hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. Listen to this hymn on SoundCloud.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster
Blest Be the Tie That Binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship our spirit finds
Is like to that above.
2 | Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one—
Our comforts and our cares.
3 | We share our mutual woes;
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
4 | When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
5 | From sorrow, toil, and pain,
And sin we shall be free;
And perfect love and oneness reign
Through all eternity.