I read Paul's instructions in Romans 12:9-21 and think, "Yes, let's do that; let's be that" and then I start moving about in the world or in my house or even across the room and it feels like I can't do that. I can't be that. (And, that other person in the room isn't doing that or being that, either.)
Sometimes the expectations of discipleship feel oppressive. Jesus says, "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48) and we balk. "Who me? Let me tell you about the human condition, Lord."
Of course, he knows the human condition well. He was human, after all, and died as a result of our human condition.
He also forgave us and gave us a community of faith. Maybe instead of reading that list of instructions in Romans 12 as a list of that which I couldn't perfect, we could read it as our constitution. This is what we aim to be. Some are more apt at loving and others at hating what is evil. We can learn from both. We can learn from those skilled at showing honor and give honor to those who are ardent in spirit and service to the Lord. We can give thanks for those who model for us patience in suffering and perseverance in prayer and generosity and hospitality and living harmoniously and humbly and who let go of a desire for revenge.
Let's read these words from Romans regularly, watch for those who are living them well, and let the Spirit mature us into those who no longer find this an unfairly demanding assignment, but rather a joyful way to live.
Well, those are my thoughts on the matter today. Reverends Jiunnies and Cattenhead will offer theirs on Sunday. Join them in worshiping the Savior who calls us to perfection, forgives our failed attempts at getting there (and even our failures to try), and gives us a community with which to try again and from whom to learn.