This text in Romans many times is followed by a volley of do’s and don’ts. I read this text today( yes I understand the historical context and audience) and my mind was taken on a different tangent. Paul is writing a message of progression over stagnation. His audience is not pagans but Christians.
Luther comments on this passage and says that is a movement from good to better. It is a call to never be satisfied with where we are as Christians.
I think one way that comes out in living relevant and deeply Christian lives is how we deal with ill. I don’t mean blowing your nose, but I mean ill thoughts, ideas, practices. How about this one for size – I am black and you are white, we can work together in the same office because society is desegregated but we will go to church in segregated conferences and churches. If we are well-adjusted to ill-fitting beliefs that permeate societal thinking we are in trouble. The problem is doubly compounded when it is within our own gates.
To quote Luther on Romans 12:2 again :
“As soon as you do not desire to become better, then you have ceased to be good.” It does not help a tree to have green leaves and flowers if it does not bear fruit besides its flowers. For this reason many perish in their flowering.
I have been thinking and praying about the startlingly well-adjusted attitude that we have to this ill-fitting belief of separate but equal. Mine was not active promotion of the belief, I was convicted I was stagnating which according to Luther is tantamount to progression. I want to pick up my hammer and help bring down this wall, a shard, a chip or chunk at a time.
My friend puts it this way “we go to separate churches in the same town, and say – peace, ill see you in heaven”. Is my friend off his rocker? I don’t think so, in fact I whole heartily agree with his commentary on this ill.
How do we as a body deal with this difficult issue of racial segregation within our own walls? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I welcome your contributions!