Scripture Reading: Romans 16:1-16, John 13:16, 1 Peter 5:14
Of all of the roles I’ve had in my life, my least favorite, without a doubt, is “new girl.”
She’s clumsy and uncertain, always draining her phone battery with GPS directions to the grocery store and back home again. With brave intentions and shy tendencies, she’s perfected the art of introducing herself, yet allows her next-door neighbor to call her the wrong name yet again. She doesn’t know when trash pickup is or where to find the office break room. And her best friend, states away, knows she’s always on call for both late night and early morning pep talks.
I’ve been the new girl enough times to know what makes her feel welcome. Paul has a pretty good idea, too. After all, he could have easily ended the book of Romans with chapter 15, one of the biggest mic-drop opportunities of all time. Instead, he reintroduces us to the gift God gave us in each other.
After “amen,” Paul continues on with a crucial reminder: we are not alone. He introduces us to his friends by name, explaining their significance and telling us why we’ll love them.
Phoebe, whom Paul reminds us is already our sister, is on her way to Rome (and may be the one carrying his letter!). He encourages us to befriend her and take care of her during her stay. Priscilla and Aquila, more dear friends, put themselves on the line for our buddy Paul. So, of course, we’re honored to greet them and their church. The list goes on and on, and as it grows, Paul continues to build up God’s people with encouragement, delivering each name as a lifeline to the full body.
In this intimate portrait of Paul and his fellow believers, we see a lasting truth: The body of Christ is a built-in reminder that redemption is an extraordinary reality for everyday people.
It’s easy to misread the Bible as “The Book of People Who Had It All Together,” when really, there’s only one Hero in this story. The simple truth is that we all need Jesus, and we all need each other.
In Romans, Paul emphasizes that God’s plan is good news. But his writing isn’t just for well-versed theologians—it’s for ordinary, faithful people living in small, unseen obedience. It’s for us. If you are in Christ, your name is written there among the greatness and glory of God’s plan.
Here in our temporary home, we never stop being the new girl who needs to relearn grace and remember truth. But praise the Lord—we don’t have to do it alone.
Greetings, friends. And peace be to all of you who are in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 5:14).