Updated: Feb 12, 2022
Lesson for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany, February; Galatians 6:1-10
Caring Relationships vs. any other social club; facades, hypocrisy, and judgments of the “church” and “religion.”
"Caring Relationships" as a mark of Christian vitality requires (agape) sacrificial love, a self-emptying, un-reserving attitude towards others. The Gospel instructs us to see and love people in the way that Christ sees and loves people.
The church should be the one place where:
Galatians 6:1a "Open Confession is Heard"
Galatians 6:2 "Testimony is Offered"
Galatians 6:4-5 "Self-awareness & Responsibility"
Galatians 6:6 "Celebrate What is Agreeable"
Galatians 6:9 "Perpetual Work of Reconciliation"
Galatians 6:10 "Forgiveness is Offered"
Caring relationships are about vulnerability and trust. Caring Relationships don't come simply through hospitality and welcoming committees; they come through a carefully cultivated environment that is genuine and sincere in being the household of God, where you have a place at the table no matter what. So let us be honest, intentional with our conversations, and aim to be authentic with one another because we are sure of God's love for us.
A. Biblical References: Acts 6:1–7; John 21:15–19; Romans 12:9–18; Galatians 6:1–10; John 13:35; Hebrews 10:24–25; John 8:1–12; Romans 15:1–6
Cultivates an environment of true caring relationships through genuine opportunities to share testimony
The church seeks to strengthen ties within the household of God; fostering relationships between demographics, with members on the margin, people who are missing or who have been hurt
Thechurchseekstobuildandrebuildrelationshipsof conflict or strain; clear process of conflict resolution
The church develops caring relationships in the neighborhood and community (i.e. other churches, community organizations, health and human services, advocacy groups, presbytery)
Evaluate and envision ways of sharing the love of Christ in new relationships
C. Potential Outcomes:
The church provides a lasting community of agape — a love where all people belong
Faith is strengthened; accountability and commitment grows
People find belonging, lay burdens down, share needs, experience Christ
Collaboration with other churches and community organizations becomes easier
Growing connectional relationships throughout the presbytery, the denomination, and beyond
D. Reflection Questions:
What practices of caring relationships does your congregation cherish most?
What would a neighbor/community visitor say about the environment of caring relationships?
How does your congregation respond in caring for the sick, marginalized, grieving, lonely? What about the alcoholic, the racially profiled, the abused child?
Are people free to share their story and feel comfortable being authentic?
What stops us from truth-telling in God’s house? What are the fears?
How might you foster a genuine environment of caring relationships and true agape?
How does your church handle conflict?
What relationships in the church need to be reconciled?
How do you foster and nurture lasting relationships in your community, with your presbytery, and beyond?