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Lay aside the works of darkness
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Rev. George Martin

This is what Paul told the Christians in Rome, and he included himself in his instructing them. “Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;” He admonished the people to live honorably as in the day. Not in reveling and drunkenness ... quarreling and jealousy. His idea was to put on the Lord Jesus Christ; to live like him, in the example He set. It may be hard to do; but it certainly is not that hard to try. If we reach some small amount of success, the world, yours and mine, will be a better place.

We mortals have a way of allowing the worst in us to rise to the surface, and allow some wickedness within us to come forth. We give way to some inherent evil, which we may not recognize, to fill us, and cause us to harm others and ourselves. But in the words of the prophet Ezekiel we are advised, when we see this evil, to warn the wicked to turn from their ways. We are given an obligation, to warn others of their evil ways, and help them change those patterns.   

In the later chapters of Matthew, Jesus instructs the Apostles, and us, how to correct the ways of those folk who have sinned against another in the church. These things do happen and feelings get hurt and friendliness disappears as bitterness takes over. The part of Chapter 18 in Matthew gives sound advice to all churchgoers about how to assuage the hurt and bring unity back to the congregation. A unity where Christ may dwell among us. That unity is what we need in order to do the work of Christ, and to live as we should.  

The process offered is not really an easy one, because egos and personalities many times get in the way, and some of those are very strong or very sensitive and they can be easily bruised or bent; delicacy is necessary. Go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone, is the advice offered. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. If you are not listened to, take another with you to verify the slight or sin.

All of these steps and cautions, all of these suggestions are meant to hold the church together, to continue the community full of love and helpfulness. For as we gather in the name of Jesus Christ we create a place where Jesus can dwell within us, and become recognizable.

That, in its simplicity, is the reason for Christians to gather. That the Christ, who dwells within us might join with the Christ who dwells within the others, and become amplified and more apparent to the entire body. 

Then we can say: “The Christ who dwells within me greets with love the Christ who dwells within you. Amen.

The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to