Today is Veteran’s Day. On this day around the country people cheer the contributions America’s soldiers have given to protect our freedom. With Veteran’s Day this year falling just a few days after a very contentious national election, it is particularly refreshing to see people in all states (Red and Blue) stand at attention in honor of those who have represented us in battle.
America’s partnership with our military is a cord of at least three strands. One strand recognizes the importance of the task to which our soldiers have committed their lives. A second strand involves the financial partnership American’s have with our military . . . our taxes fund our defense. Because we value our freedom, we invest in preserving it. A third strand involves our hearts. Knowing that our service members are someone’s husband, wife, son, or daughter (and many times our own), our hearts are tied to their sacrifice. We pray for their safety and wrap ribbons on trees upon their deployment.
I was thinking about that today as I reflected further on Romans 15:22-16:17. In this section, Paul is encouraging the Christians in Rome (and by way of application, us as well) to wrap tightly around the apostolic mission that extended far beyond the natural “reach” of their church. In these verses, Paul describes ministry that would span 3,000 miles in nautical voyages to fulfill. He talks about ministry as far east as Jerusalem and as far west as Spain. While these two locales appear on the same side of our globe, they represented the edges of Paul’s world. As we saw in Romans 15:14-21, Paul felt compelled by God to preach the Gospel to those who had not yet heard . . . and he wanted to offer a three stranded cord to tie the Romans hearts with his in the fellowship of this great co:mission.
Remembering the importance of the Gospel is the first strand. Knowing that we have been set free from sin’s necessary rule by the work of Christ is liberating for us, and a reminder that we must offer this freedom to others as well. Investing financially in ministry that we might never see is a second strand. Paul was collecting money to support hungry Christians in Jerusalem and to fund missionary expansion in Spain. Both gifts were needed and wound around the missional partnerships Paul was forming. Bowing our hearts in prayer for the success of missions is the third strand. Paul requested real partnership in his ministry by praying for safety and success. Though Paul had not yet visited Rome, he was bold in asking for this braided response and he was hoping the Roman Church would stand up and salute (as had the churches of Greece before them).
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be gathering to worship Jesus together and look at Romans 15:22-16:17 together in part 2 of our “Co:Mission” sermon series. We hope you will make plans to join us as we wrap our minds around the cords of Christ’s truth together. Hope to see you in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship services!
P.S. In our 9:45 and 11:00 services we will have 8 families dedicating babies. It should be a great time of celebration!
P.S.S. Also, remember to join us back on Sunday night, November 13 at 5:30 in the Worship Center at Wildwood as we celebrate the baptisms of 21 people who have trusted in Christ. I can’t wait for Sunday!