Yes, You Can Party with the Heathen

kids together on beach
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rnugraha/247871593/">Riza Nugraha</a>

Romans 15:7-13

Welcome each other, just as Jesus did right by God when he welcomed you. As I say, Jesus came helping to those who cut their foreskins off in order to prove their faithfulness to ancestral laws, so that the heathen wouldn’t have to do that to be considered faithful, so even the heathen can do right by God. The sacred writings say:

So I will thank you among the heathen,
And sing your name out loud.

And,

Join the celebration with God’s people.

And,

Extol God, all you heathen,
And everyone everywhere extol God.

And Isaiah says,

The root of Jesse’s family tree will come up
And will lead the heathen,
And shall renew their hope.

May the God of hope make your hope abound with joy and peace, and may God’s spirit empower you.

Even the heathen can do right by God!

That’s saying quite a bit, given that the heathen, by definition, don’t believe in God. Still they can do right. By God! And this coming from Paul, no less!

If Paul could recognize that those outside the faith can do right by God, why is it that so many who claim that these words are their words to live by, can’t?

If Paul can recognize that what Jesus did was aimed at welcoming those whose faith was different than his own, why can’t the church?

Going to extremes like cutting your foreskin off to show how faithful you are is no longer necessary. So you’d think that Christians could do as the sacred writings say. Party with the heathen. Invite the heathen to celebrate with the believers. Everyone is welcome. Hope is not limited to a narrow sect.

And regardless of your religious persuasion, may your hope abound with joy and peace.
And may you be empowered.