Today’s readings: Hosea 11:1–11; 1 Corinthians 4:9–16; Matthew 15:21–28
The sign along the road read, “Speed Limit 65,” but everyone knows you can go at least seven or eight miles per hour over. The blue lights flashing in your mirror suggest otherwise and you cannot argue with the person wearing the uniform. His badge reflects his authority and the truth is you are guilty. Thankfully, the officer is also given authority to let you off with a warning.
Churches can suffer from the same issue. Congregations imitate societal norms by making decisions through majority vote, sometimes against the leadership of their pastor. Rarely is it considered whether the majority might be wrong. Often, what seems normative results in shameful and guilty finger pointing.
Paul lifts up the parameters of Christian life to the church at Corinth, pointing to his life as an example. The way Paul lives, subject to God’s mercy and grace, is his uniform; his life reflects the one who gives him authority. God calls pastors, also subject to his mercy and grace, to wear this same uniform for the sake of others, holding them accountable to the gospel. Exercising this authority, the pastor is given authority to forgive and we are thankful that we got off with a warning.
Prayer: God of mercy, we thank you for your forgiveness and grace through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by David Nuottila, Pastor of Union Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.
Tomorrow’s readings: Hosea 11:12–12:1; Acts 26:1–23; Luke 8:26–39