Matthew 18:15-20
15 “If your brother sins against you go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Loving God…you created us to be in community ~ not just with you but with each other here on this earth.  You have created us to be an expression of the community you created between you and creation.  You created us to maintain and pursue community.  You created us to give you glory through community.

But we messed up community.

We sinned ~ and continue to sin.
We hurt our neighbors.
We create and maintain division between people.
We seek to win rather than to heal.
We take the “easy” way out rather than dealing with problems.
We REALLY treat people as “pagans and tax collectors“.

Oh how we have messed up community.

Oh gracious God; loving creator ~ we have acted contrary to your design.
Grant us your vision and heart for one another.
Grant us compassion and love for our neighbors.
Grant us patience and passion.
Grant us desire for what is better ~ community as you design.

Oh gracious and loving God…even though we messed up your creation; your community, you pursued healing and reconciliation through the cross; through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for your compassion.  May we pursue that same reconciliation in all our relationships ~ giving you all the praise and glory.  Through Jesus Christ I pray…AMEN!

edh -|—