We were at the Lutheran Home this morning, as we are the first Sunday of most months. We help wheelchair-bound residents attend the weekly worship service.
One of the interesting things about this is that the Lutheran church uses the same lectionary as the Catholic church, so in almost every case, the sermon is on the same readings that we heard at Mass the night before. Their pastor, Rev. Karen Minnich-Sadler, often puts an interesting twist on the message. The reading from Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 18:15-20) discusses what to do if you have a disagreement with a member of the Church. Karen pointed out that this is one of the hard lessons from Christ, forcing us to deal head on with division among us. (Ironic that it was the Sunday for the Catholic kids to be helping out, I thought!)
At the end of His advice, Jesus says, “If he refuses to listen to even the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” I recall that last night, I thought about how the Jews would not have had anything to do with Gentiles or tax collectors, and that it seemed strange that Jesus was telling them to ostracize someone. I didn’t reflect on this, it was just a passing thought.
But, as when Karen spoke this morning, I realized I missed the point! (Just call me Peter!) She said, “And how did Jesus treat the Gentile and the tax collector? He fellowshipped with them!”
That Jesus! He is a tricky one! 🙂