We return to Romans with Pastor Steve this Sunday after a couple weeks in the Psalms with some of our staff pastors! Maybe you remember, we have been discussing “Gray Matters”: those issues that are matters of opinion and tradition that can tend to separate and divide people. For the Jews and Gentiles in Rome it was matters of food regulations and days of worship. For us the list can continue to areas of clothing and entertainment, alcohol usage and even tattoos!
Romans 15 brings this issue to a close as Paul helps us to understand the relationship between the “strong” and the “weak”. For Paul, “strong” meant that there was an understanding of living life by grace and not legalistic regulations on non essential issues. But the Jews, coming from more restrictive backgrounds, had more convictions and regulations. Even at CC Fluvanna we have people coming from a variety of backgrounds, some more restrictive than others.
These lessons are vital for us, as we live our lives amidst the highly toxic American culture. Rugged American individualism and ambition has produced a “me first” attitude where “weaker” people can be seen as a frustration, inconvenience, or hinderance. Weaker people should be weeded out as “natural selection” might suggest. Only the strong survive! We can see this in attitudes in schools and sports fields, work and even in worship!
With that in mind, it may be hard to fathom what Paul says is true and right and spiritually healthy in Romans 15. What should be the relation between strong and weak? Listen in and see as we think about this important topic, including lessons from Mount Everest as well as our plane trip home from Bonaire where we were denied our complimentary peanuts! Why? You’ll have to listen in to find out!