YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 285
Paul instructs Titus to appoint elders in every town (verse 5); the set of qualifications (verses 6-9) he gives is pretty comparable to the set given in his letter to Timothy. I am particularly interested to know how the local churches were separated geographically; this seems to imply that each town had its own church with its own leadership. In America, each town has several “churches”, each with leadership — even the smallest town is likely to have at least two churches, because in America we just don't get along with our neighbors. We think we have to have perfect theology coming from the pulpit (even when we don't understand it). We think we need the best combination of musical style, cultural appeal, and childcare availability (even when we don't volunteer to do any of those things). We want to be with “our people”, whatever that means.
Imagine what might happen if all the Christians in a neighborhood simply banded together and went to the same church. That begs the question, though: do we have neighborhoods with any sort of unity as it is? We get into our cars inside our garages, drive to work, drive back to our garages, and never see our neighbors. How can we, the church, overcome the balkanization and disintegration of our neighborhoods? We have to start by loving our neighbors. Holding and attending services where our neighbors are. Setting aside our need for a perfect congregation and instead filling a congregation with those around us. Attending the local church instead of starting a new one.
Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
look and take note!
Search her squares to see if you can find a man,
one who does justice and seeks truth,
that I may pardon her.
Reminds me of Ezekiel 22:30. I always think Abraham's pleading with God for Sodom (Genesis 18:22-33). He talks God down to ten righteous men: if there are ten righteous men in Sodom, God will not destroy it. But there aren't ten. God saves Lot and his family, and then destroys the city. For the lack of nine righteous men (or ten; Lot isn't saved because of his own righteousness but for Abraham's sake), Sodom is obliterated. For the lack of one righteous man in Jeremiah 5, Jerusalem is destroyed.
Christ is the one righteous man, and there is no other God.