Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
So then, each of us will be accountable to God. ~ Romans 14:1-12
A big issue for the early church was what to do about the Jewish dietary restrictions.
To follow them, or not to follow them.
For Paul because of our relationship to each other through Jesus Christ, the old practices no longer held sway.
But instead of keeping folks out of the community because they weren't sure they should give up those practices, Paul advised non-judgment.
As human beings we can come up with an infinite number of things to judge each other for: what we eat, how we dress, how we vote. who we love. how we identify ourselves.
And we also can find ways to judge each other for the ways in which we come together as God's people.
How we worship.
When we worship.
What music we want or don't want.
How we distribute communion.
And so on.
Who are you to pass judgement? Paul asks. It's all about honoring God.
It's not about the how as much as it is the why. And the Who.
There are many ways that we participate with each other in the Body of Christ. We may honor God in one way, and someone sitting next to us in the pew may honor God another way.
How wonderful it is that there are so many ways to do so!
Holy One, help me not be so focused on the "how" of worship, that I forget the "why" and the "who." Amen