by Rev Douglas Brauner
Making room for each other in the Christian Community.
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“All of Moses’ Teachings are summarized in a single statement, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ But if you criticize and attack each other, be careful that you don’t destroy each other.
Galatians 5:14-15 God’s Word to the Nations
It would seem that these two hummingbirds are gracefully approaching the feeder to share a meal together. There are five holes through which these birds could drink of their sweet nectar. There was more than enough room for them at the dining table. They could even rest their wings while perching on the feeder to make the experience more enjoyable.
What could be better than joining your friends in a leisurely meal?
Instead of enjoying a late afternoon meal with each other, these two birds flew at each other trying to keep the other bird from drinking. Two other buddies, not pictured, were doing the same thing. As soon as one bird stuck its beak in the hole another bird would dive bomb it, driving it from the much-needed nourishment.
They expended more energy in keeping each other from eating than they received from the sugar-water.
Paul warns us against such behavior. When we forget the command to love each other as we love ourselves, when we bite and devour each other, we’re committing community suicide. There is no community, Christian or non-Christian, that can survive ongoing personal attacks, insults, and abuses.
Instead of biting and devouring each other, our call in Christ is to love, support, and nourish each other even when that is difficult to do. We have not been called by the Holy Spirit through gospel to think only of ourselves, but to live for each other and for the community. Instead of chasing each other away from the nourishment of God’s Word, we carry each other to that Word. We make room for each other.
Gracious Lord, as you have called us to experience your compassion, may we be instruments of love so that others receive nourishment from you. Amen.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado