Worship: Unity in Community

Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8 and 10

We’ve been going through St. Paul’s letter to the church in Rome and what true worship means. You can find the rest of this series here: Worship: Meals and Manners; Worship: Judgment and Freedom Fighters, Worship: Living Sacrifices with Renewed Minds, Worship: Union with God. When Paul quotes the prophet Joel in Rom. 10:13, saying, “whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved,” he’s not referring to some “sinner’s prayer,” but to sacrificial worship. He’s told us in chapter 12 that true worship means to present our bodies as living sacrifices. This statement of his is based on the revelation that he had received: God has become flesh; and if there is an incarnate God, there’s going to be an incarnate worship.

Our lectionary skips over chapter 13, but in a nutshell, that’s the one that tells us that part of living together in an intentional community of peace will be submitting to government and paying taxes. Remember that he’s talking about the Roman government, the one that eventually beheaded him. Their government was more corrupt than ours has ever been. There is a way to fight against injustice while still submitting to the government, but that is a discussion for another time.

Paul starts out chapter  by telling the the church to accept a brother who is weak in the faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. He gives an example of someone who is weak in the faith: a person who’s conscience won’t allow him to eat meat. Now for them, the problem with eating meat wasn’t about being morally opposed to killing and consuming animals. For them, the problem with eating meat was that almost all of the meat that was being sold had been part of a sacrifice to a pagan deity. He’s still talking about worship. Remember, the whole point of sacrifice was to share a communal meal in order to be made one with a god or goddess. After the animal had been slaughtered and but