I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
While not behind bars, there is no doubt that the pandemic has imprisoned us in many ways. Postponed weddings, canceled graduations, sparsely attended funerals, and regulated worship formats are just some examples of the restrictions brought on by Covid-19. By now, perhaps even the introverts among us are ready for social gatherings and fellowship! While we discern how to move forward as a congregation during these uncertain times, we should heed Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus, especially in modeling the virtues of humility, gentleness, patience and bearing with one another.
In the New Testament, humility can mean “the quality of voluntary submission and selflessness” or “having a modest opinion of oneself.” For our purposes of discernment, humility serves us well because it opens us up to listening. To listen seriously to another (or to God, for that matter) we must be able to accept that we could be wrong. This does not mean that we make ourselves vulnerable to misinformation, but rather that we take the time to give serious consideration to what others believe, think, and feel.
The Greek word for “gentleness” is sometimes translated as “meekness” (Colossians 3:12, James 1:21). Meekness does not mean being weak or susceptible, but rather teachable. What can we learn from this unprecedented suspension of customary routines? What can we learn from each other? “Bearing with one another in love” is a common theme in the New Testament (Philippians 2:4; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:25), which not only means being patient with one another, but also remembering and appreciating the richness and fullness of the Body of Christ. “The communion of saints,” as the Creeds put it, is a gift of baptism. It is a gift of the church that we need not discern alone or struggle alone.
“Church unity,” writes Evangelist Leonard Ravenhill, “comes from corporate humility.” Humility, along with gentleness, patience, and love, will help us to not only faithfully navigate through the uncertain months ahead, but will also help us to cultivate, as Paul teaches, a “unity of spirit in the bond of peace.”
—Pastor Mark Metze
is a creative way to ready and study God's Word by creating notes and drawings to accompany Scripture verses. This group meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30. I have also included a picture of the Bible Journaling Group.