Embracing One Another, as Christ Embraces Us
We’ve tolerated those differences with varying degrees of frustration over the years, but society has now convinced some Brethren that tolerating them is no longer worth the effort. Too many of us have fallen into the world’s trap of believing that if you don’t see or do things the way we do, there’s something wrong with you, forgetting that the unity
that we all want and is called for repeatedly in scripture, is not uniformity.
The apostle Paul calls us to live in harmony (Romans 12:16). We Brethren know harmony. Musically, it means not singing the same thing–the same words or melody. Instead, harmony implies variety. It means respecting and appreciating the differences in the way we understand scripture, respond to God’s love, or go about continuing the work of Jesus.
Our theme for 2022 explores what it means to live in harmony with one another, respecting each other’s gifts and perspectives, while committed to a saving Christ who calls us to another way of living. The word that embodies this notion best is, “embrace.” Embracing implies reaching out intentionally, not just tolerating or refraining from
objecting. It’s an action verb, consistent with the many Biblical calls to love one another as Christ loves us.
Paul echoes that theme in his advice to the Roman church, “Welcome one another,” he writes, “just as Christ welcomed you”. (Romans 15:7 NRSV). The NIV uses the word “accepting”. As we embark on the adventurous future that God promises, I invite us to go even further, “Embracing One Another, as Christ Embraces Us”, living and working in harmony, as we share Jesus in the neighborhood.
Jesus’ prayer was plain and direct: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)
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Daily Themes and Scriptures
Sunday: Embracing One Another with Christ as Our Example.
Texts: Luke 9:1-10 and 1 John 4:10
We have already been embraced and welcomed by Christ onto God’s family despite our sins and transgressions. This gift provides our motivation to respond by embracing one another.
Monday: Embracing One Another in Times of Pain and Brokenness
Texts: Genesis 45:4-15 and Matthew 11:28
As Christ provided hope for the suffering and those in need, we offer comfort and an embracing spirit of love to those who are in need of care around us.
Tuesday: Embracing One Another in Our Joy and Celebration
Texts: Psalm 147:1 and Luke 15:11-32
As we suffer with those who suffer we also rejoice with those who rejoice. We have much for which to celebrate and give thanks and we find ways to respond joyfully to the goodness of life in Christ.
Wednesday: Embracing One Another Amidst Our Diversity as a Faith Community
Texts: Mark 3:31-35 and Romans 12:9-21
We yield our personal preference to the unity of the body as we learn to live with the fact that we are not of one mind on all issues as we live out our faith. Living in harmony means we express some aspects of our faith in different ways.
Thursday: Embracing One Another as We Reach Out to Our Neighbors
Texts: John 4:7-24; John 13:34-35; with Matthew 28:19-20
Christ calls us to share the good news of discipleship and salvation with our neighbors both near and far. We embrace all of God’s creation through the work of evangelism.