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"Welcome One Another..."

Recently, I was struck by the benediction of Romans 15:5-6:

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These words are being spoken to a multi-ethnic church in Rome, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. Hints abound throughout the letter that there currently is disharmony between the two groups; both sides seem to have a sense of superiority towards the other and are impatient with the others’ faults. Paul here reminds them of why this must change: Jesus is the great reconciler between peoples (see Eph 2:11-22), and as we come to have one harmonious voice in praising God, God is glorified. For this reason, Paul follows his blessing with a challenge: “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

In our churches today we continue to be tasked with glorifying God by welcoming those who are different from us. Tragically, the track record of the