Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good. If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.”
We heard this passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans this past weekend in worship, which was our Confirmation worship in which we confirmed 15 of our young people into the Christian faith. I share the entire passage with you because it speaks so strongly to our current day and all that we are experiencing and navigating from many angles of life.
I want to invite you to use this passage from Romans to engage a way of reading scripture that we use each week to begin our Confirmation classes. The practice is called Lectio Divina and is a Latin phrase meaning ‘Divine reading.’ It is an ancient Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to help us listen to God through scripture.
You may choose to use all or part of the passage. First, begin by reading the scripture slowly out loud or to yourself and then reflect for a few moments on what you hear by focusing on a word or phrase that stands out to you.
Read the scripture a second time slowly and reflect on what the scripture says to you about God and how God may be speaking to you through the scripture.
Finally, read the scripture a third time slowly and reflect on what invitation you hear from God as to what you might do…what is the scripture calling you to do in the days in which we live.
This Scripture passage and the entire 12th chapter of Romans is a wonderful outline for how we are to live as Christian people of faith and how we are to live differently than what we so often see in the world around us. I invite you to join me in reading, reflecting and acting on this Scripture each day this week and see how we might respond differently to life around us!