Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: Romans 12, 13
Have you received yours yet? Are you even planning on getting one? You may have already heard that it is never too early to get a flu shot.
Flu season starts in the fall with most outbreaks peaking in January and February. Since you can’t read the medication insert it may be helpful to know what is contained in the flu shot serum this year.
The Center for Disease Control on their web page explains that “The seasonal flu vaccine is usually a trivalent vaccine (a three component vaccine) with each component selected to protect against one of the three groups of influenza viruses circulating most commonly in humans… the WHO [World Health Organization] recommends specific vaccine viruses for vaccine production, but then each individual country makes their own decision for licensing of vaccines in their country. In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines what viruses will be used in U.S.–licensed vaccines
“For the 2010-2011 flu season, both the FDA and WHO have recommended that the vaccine contain the following three vaccine viruses:
an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)–like virus,
an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)–like virus, and a
B/Brisbane/60/2008–like virus.” 1
What you can’t do this year is avoid the H1N1 vaccine. This has caused some debate as to whether or not the threat last year of a world-wide pandemic was an unjustified scare and a waste of public money. Therefore the decision to get inoculated this year may mean you need to trust your gut or the government.
The church in Rome during Paul’s time was dealing with many viruses threatening to split the church. There was a pandemic in Judaism and the pagan religions of Paul’s day in that they relied on the sacrificial system of worship. For the first 11 chapters of the book of Romans, Paul chooses to use logical argument and examples of why Christ’s sacrifice of mercy and love would now replace animal sacrifice.
In our study for this week Paul moves from theory to show the practical ways we should live every day. He uses the word “therefore” to show the connection. “God has done a lot for us, therefore, this is how we should live” 2
In Chapter 12 Paul’s vaccine for self-giving and unselfish concern for others includes several ingredients. He tells them to use God-given talents to build up the church. Do good and run from evil. When life gets tough, pray. Be hospitable. Bless don’t curse your enemies. Laugh with others who are happy and share tears with them when they are sad. Get along with one another. Don’t insist in having it your way. God will be the judge. Feed the hungry even if one is an enemy. If the enemy is thirsty give him or her a drink. Get the best of evil by doing good.
In Chapter 13 Paul injects some thoughts on daily living as a good citizen then suggests that when the Holy Spirit puts love within, it is natural to want to express it to everyone. We too can live a life that is a living sacrifice to God.
As we dig into these two chapters this week, let’s see if Paul’s advice to his church might be timely to our own. We might ask, Is our church healthy? Or does it need a vaccine of love to prevent the evil viruses that seek to destroy the well-being of the body of Christ in my community?