Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bible Study: Support among Christians

Romans 15:26
2 Corinthians 8:10-15
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The parish we belong to has 20 Masses scheduled a week, not counting weddings, funerals, and holy days. Paul may have made every effort to preach to people who had never heard of Christ before (Rom 15:20), but someone has to stay behind to continue ministering to those converted through Paul's efforts. All those Masses aren't scheduled because the bored priests have to look busy somehow (ha!): they're scheduled because they're attended, some by a small crowd and some by a full church. As a Church we need both the missionaries and the individuals to continue at home and we need to maintain our connection between the two. We need the Pauls working where Christ is unknown and we need the local pastors strengthening the faith of those who have already responded. There will be no one to fund or fill the mission field unless the home group is healthy and vibrant, and the act of supporting missionary efforts improves the health of the home church. We both have gifts to share with one another. We are both stronger for our connection with one another.
Of course it's not just the leaders of the Church who are working for the health of the Christian community, both at home and abroad. I may be sitting in the pew rather than standing at the pulpit, but I have just as great a responsibility for strengthening the bonds between Christians. If I try to live my faith in isolation, thinking that I don't have to support others or be supported by them, my faith will suffer and the Church as a whole will be weaker. No one will be reaching out to bring new members in and no one will be ministering to those who have already joined, strengthening my faith and that of my Christian family. Whether I am figuratively living in Jerusalem, the home church who sends out the missionaries to the hinterlands, or living in the foreign mission field, financially positioned to support those whose efforts originally evangelized me, I need to recognize my connection with other Christians and actively support them.

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