Reflections: Tuesday of the 17th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 9:23-10:22; Matthew 11:20-30

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In our Epistle lesson, Paul talks about the unity of the Christian Church. He says that there is one Body of Christ, one Church. This one Church is animated by one Spirit—the Holy Spirit. Believers of all times and places share a common Father and a common Lord. There is one faith that we confess and there is one Baptism that brings us into the Church. This is the unity that Paul celebrates.

He also urges us to live a certain way. He wants us to practice humility, gentleness, and patience. These virtues are the ways love expresses itself when handling sinners. When someone sins against me, love says, “True, he did sin, but you have sinned often yourself.” When someone sins against me, love corrects him gently. When someone sins against me, love doesn’t want to condemn him and dismiss him quickly, but wants to give him another chance. Basically, Paul wants us to forgive each other, just as God forgives us for the sake of Christ crucified.

And this is an important admonition. If we do not mortify our flesh, which is proud, mean, and impatient, and if we do not practice love, then we risk severing the bond of peace. You see, our good works don’t create or maintain our relationship with God. That relationship is created and maintained by the blood of Christ. However, our love does maintain our relationships with each other. Without love, schism occurs. And schism displeases our Father and breaks the heart of our Savior.

Did Jesus die merely so that we could have a private relationship with Him? No! He died to bring us into His family. He unites us to Himself, so that we are united to each other. Our Baptisms into Christ create that unity, and His Spirit and Word maintain it. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen

Though with a scornful wonder The world sees her oppressed, By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distressed, Yet saints their watch are keeping; Their cry goes up, “How long?” And soon the night of weeping Shall be the morn of song. (“The Church’s One Foundation”, LSB 644, st.3)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.