Beloved Community

Beloved Community

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ~ Romans 12:9-18 [NIV]

It’s December. You may be thinking about Christmas. I’m thinking about weddings, my daughter’s in particular. By the time you read this, my daughter and her fiancé will be married.

[9]Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. [10]Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Bride and Bridegroom #TeamGinger (yes, both redheads) are one of the most collaborative couples we have ever seen. They talk to each other, listen and work through issues in ways that some couples never learn. We love this young man and his family so much already. We love our kids’ friends. But through the wedding planning over the course of the year, what I have come to appreciate the most is the bride and groom’s love for and emphasis on community.

Recently my daughter called me in a quandary while researching scriptures for the ceremony. So she called me in former pastor, inclusion and Bible verse translations experts. “It’s so hard to find something that doesn’t have wives being submissive to husbands. It needs to be more than Corinthians 13 (that everyone uses). Plus we want it to acknowledge and include everyone there at the wedding.”

[12]Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. [13]Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

[14]Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. [15]Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. [16]Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

The 12th chapter of Romans immediately popped in my head. Bride was familiar with it too and thought they were perfect. So did the groom and their pastor. Even more, I believe they were God inspired.

Why?

This passage was picked before one of the most divisive elections of our time. It was picked before the kids start their future with each other. It was picked not knowing who would be president or what that shared future holds for them and all America.

This verse will be read in a gathering of over 140 people, in a church that is open and affirming of the LGBTQ community, the same one where I learned how to be open and supportive of the homeless and mentally ill. The minister marrying the kids is an ordained Baptist pastor who leads another church which advocates for the LGBTQ community and collaborates with many social justice focused ministers in our area.

[14]Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. [15]Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. [16]Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

But that’s not all who will be there: Persons of all races, nations and backgrounds. People from Red states who are hurting through the holidays thanks to election estrangement just as much as Blue people doing the same. People of different faiths and atheists. People from the Greatest Generation to millennials to the cutest little ringbearer and flowergirls you’d ever want to see. But they will show up, no matter their differences, to witness the uniting of these two to their beloved.

[18]If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

So there you have it. In this time when we celebrate the Prince of Peace and God’s love for us, my daughter and son-in-law’s community will be drawn together in peace and love, hearing God’s word and hopefully drawing inspiration, insight, comfort, and strength from it.

May their community be an example to our community across America.

Peace, Julie

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Sis Steele
Follow me

Sis Steele

Julie Hilton Steele is an eclectic soul who’s done everything from work in a lab to pastor a church.But no matter what she’s done, she’s always been reading and writing. As a published non-fiction writer, she focused on devotions and articles about her faith and life experience,social issues, spiritual formation and church curriculum.Now she’s discovered the fun of writing fiction, immersed herselfin the 1940s and WWII, creating stories set in her birthplace of Washington DC or her most favorite place in the United States, Hawaii but still weaving messages about the gift of faith and the love of God.
Sis Steele
Follow me

Latest posts by Sis Steele (see all)

11 thoughts on “Beloved Community

  1. Piper Huguley

    A lovely post, Julie. Thanks for writing it.

    Reply

    1. Julie Steele

      And the bride liked it!

      Reply

  2. Jen

    “Beloved Community”. There’s such a joy in being a part of God’s beloved community – especially for such a wonderful occasion! As Piper said, lovely post. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Julie Steele

      It really was.

      Reply

  3. Gretchen

    Yes! Love God, and love your neighbors. Sometimes we make the simple so complicated.

    Reply

    1. Jen

      Never truer words, Gretchen!

      Reply

    2. Julie Steele

      Truth.

      Reply

  4. Susan Mcmillan

    Mathew 22:36-40.Love is the greatest of all commandments. Love or rather luck of love breaks and continues to break family bonds, friendships and communities independent of sizes. We all desire to be loved but yet at times we refuse to love because of an endless number of excuses.Am personally guilty for hardening my heart towards those that have not indicated they love me. We are to love not only those who love us but even those that don’t(wow!). This challenges me alot daily but Christ calls me to love!.This season is a perfect example to us of a love so pure through the birth of our Savior, redeemer, father…… Thank you for sharing

    Reply

    1. Julie Steele

      And thank you for your thoughts too, Susan.

      Reply

  5. Rebecca Preston

    I’ve been following the wedding progress along with you so much, that I felt I was part of it!!! Glad to hear that the love was felt and given on the wedding day. Who could ask for anything more!

    Reply

    1. Julie Steele

      Best wedding I’ve ever been too for those reasons. Glad you enjoyed the journey.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *