Sign in or register to download original


Lectionary reflections - Year A
Ordinary Time
Proper 18

Ezekiel 33.7–11
Romans 13.8–14
Matthew 18.15–20

I suppose we can take comfort from the fact that today’s passage from Matthew needed to be written at all, because you don’t need to give advice where it is already being followed; but there the comfort ends. Clearly, there has never been a perfect, harmonious Christian community that needed no guidelines about how to handle disputes but, equally clearly, having guidelines doesn’t make you observe them.

What is laid out here is the proper procedure when individual Christians fall out with one another. It starts with the private word, moves on to a small meeting and ends up with one person being estranged from the community. It is told from the point of view of the person who is in the right, but at every stage of the matter, there is the other story to be told. For example, suppose you are not the offended person, but the offending one. When your fellow Christian comes to complain about your behaviour, how do you react? Perhaps you genuinely do not see their point of view, and are convinced of your own innocence. But when they come back with a couple of others, who also agree that you are in the wrong, what then? Do you pause, think again, and try to change, or do you shout that of course their friends would agree with them, and go off and find some of your friends, who will be on your side? That will, of course, escalate things, and lead to divisions and cliques in the church...

Taken from Lectionary reflections year A by Jane Williams - Published by SPCK

Log in to create a review