So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ~ Ephesians 4:25-5:2
We are members of one another.
Let that roll around your tongue for a bit.
As the pandemic has raged, I have heard voices from all over the spectrum speak about their likes and dislikes how the country, states, counties, cities, towns, communities, churches, schools, etc. have handled the virus. Some of this has been in virulent anger.
I don't want to wear a mask. I don't want to get the vaccine. I won't show up if I have to wear a mask. I won't show up if no one is wearing a mask. I won't talk to you or listen to you if you don't wear a mask or get the vaccine. I am not interested in your fears or concerns or ways of handling this. I will no longer like you if you don't do things the ways I do them.
Of course, the pandemic has just been a microcosm of all of the ways we tend to put self first. In a lot of ways, that's part of the human condition. We worry first about our needs and then that branches out to those in our immediate circle and out from there.
But Paul reminds us that everyone is in that immediate circle. We are members of each other. Think of the way he describes us as the Body of Christ. Each one of us as members of that body has different functions but works together.
In the same fashion, because we are members of each other, the needs of other become just as important as the needs of ourselves. And if we stumble around just how to do this, Paul gives us some suggestions: Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Lord,Jesus, let me not forget the bonds I have with the other members of your Body. Amen