This is Paul’s Easter faith. May it be ours too.
The fact is, there are (and there always have been) people in the church who are more concerned with shoring up their own power or influence than with shoring up the wellbeing of the body of Christ.
In a world such as ours in which so many Christians are routinely forgotten or silenced, sending greetings as Paul does here can be like water in a parched and barren land. It can keep the spirits of our brothers and sisters in Christ alive to hear from us, and to hear that we care for them.
If we are really to be members of the body of Christ, rather than just individuals worshipping God alongside one another, we need also to do with one another the three things Paul does with the Romans in this passage.
If Christ is our model in this regard, then the way we ‘welcome’ the stranger has got to be a lot deeper, a lot more soul-searching, a lot more costly than what we conventionally mean when we talk about ‘welcoming’ someone into church.
The only way we will learn to live together as brothers and sisters is if we consistently submit to one another, if we constantly look out for one another’s wellbeing, if we always promote one another’s consciences above our own
In the few days that remain of Lent, let us ask ourselves the question: are we as devoted to living for Christ and loving his people as we could be?
Christianity is confusing – it neither worships nor hates power, and consequently can’t be controlled by it.
A better summary of what it means to live life as a Christian cannot be gotten than this!
In the few days that remain of Lent, let us ask God to help us discern what ‘function’ it is that he has granted each of us in the body of Christ – his church – and let us share what it is with other Christians alongside whom we worship.