November 6, 2017

Missional Relationships

November 6, 2017


Romans 16:1-16

Psalm 118:21-29

This week’s sermon text: Romans 14:13-23

My father was a medical missionary in Korea from 1921-1928, some years before I was born, but I grew up knowing that the friends he made in Korea were the best friends anyone could have. We often visited missionaries who had retired and heard their stories, and Korean friends visited us at our home in Virginia. We prayed for them daily. In 1998, 70 years after my father had left Korea and 20 years after he had died, my husband was invited to Korea to preach and lecture. Everywhere we went we were both introduced, and my father’s work was mentioned. At the mention of his name, “Dr. Gilmer”—the only words I understood—the large congregations always gave out a murmur of approval and applauded for the work he had done. Being in a missionary family, I found, gave me supportive friends wherever I went.

All of us in BUMC belong to a missionary family. To be a missionary is to be sent, and every one of us is sent by God to spread the gospel of God’s love through our care and love for our neighbors everywhere. This is no easy task, but we don’t do it alone. We have friends.

Toward the end of Romans, Paul expresses thanks and greetings to a whole list of friends who supported his missionary work. Each of them had a story and a particular contribution to make to the work of spreading the gospel. Some of these stories can be found in Acts; others have been lost to us, but they all had a mission. They were missionary friends and Paul depended on them. Tomorrow we will take a closer look at Paul’s circle of friends and supporters.


  • What is the meaning and tradition behind “Passing the Peace” in worship?
  • In what ways does prayer strengthen friendships?


  • What do you think is the best way to make friends?
  • How do you stay in touch with friends who are far away?

God of love, we give thanks for friends far and near who strengthen our faith and give us hope when we are lonely or troubled. We pray for our friends and ask your blessing on the work they do for your reign on earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.