Sunday, November 20, 2011
One Small Cup
Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, `Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, `You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46
We live in a country where more and more people go hungry, more folks go without basic health care and physical needs every day. Our prisons are overloaded with young poor and immigrants are treated cruelly and without dignity. Yet there is great wealth in many places. Late at night, when driving through some very posh places, I often see the very poor, living in the shadows, struggling home to their tired aching family with needs that will never be filled.
Jesus lived in a time when the gap between rich and poor was huge also, when the tyrants of the age thought they deserved all they had and hoarded their wealth. It can seem sometimes as if we have learned nothing in two thousand years and we are unable to change the course of human suffering and need. Jesus reminds us that Gods love is spread, not with great miracles or heroics but with daily tenderness, and kindness to the overlooked, the avoided and those who ache to be loved and cared for. Jesus invites us to look close to home and change hearts and minds by opening up our hearts and minds to others around us.
Today I ask God to help me to see the need around me and respond by loving others, and reaching out with compassion and mercy. Help me not to be discouraged, Lord, by the problems that surround us, but rather to take one small step, one small hand, offering one small gesture, one small cup. May we all trust God to answer our prayers as we step out in faith for the healing of our world.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well¯beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.