I have a real issue with this. We live in a world where over 20 of our family still die every day from hunger. This, therefore, strikes me as obscene.
I think of myself as a practicing Christian, and for me such inequality is a matter of both basic morality and faithfulness to the teaching of Christ. Allowing any to starve, or even go in want, is unacceptable when we have means to prevent it. It is wrong on every level.
Facts such as these serve as a reality check. Such disparity is a clear indication that we refuse to accept we are one family. Such statistics also demonstrate that calling ourselves followers of Jesus Christ is far different than living as one.
I get an almost constant stream of comments from many in my congregation that they would prefer that my sermons were less political. My response is that if a sermon isn’t political it’s not relating to what’s real and immediate for us.
If our spirituality doesn’t help inform who we are as citizens we have created a false dichotomy. Our values should come from our beliefs. Those values should be what guide us in the choosing of who we desire to serve us as elected officials.
John Wesley stated it plainly. We need to exercise our freedom to vote. It’s a gift many do not enjoy. We need to vote for the person who most closely reflects our values. And then, we need to demonstrate the love of Christ and not engage in trash talking the opposition candidates or their supporters.
Personally, I have the most difficulty with that last piece of advice. As a disciple of Jesus I am called to be an ambassador of love and an agent of reconciliation. That makes trash talk off limits, and I admit I’m not there yet. It’s an area in which I am still working…
Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Christians around the world observe Lent as a time of introspection, sacrifice and preparation for the coming of Holy Week and Easter.
Traditionally, it’s a time when Christians “sacrifice” by giving up something during this period. Fasting from favorite food or drink has always been high on the list, as has abstaining from enjoyable activities like books or movies.
But Lent can also be a season of service, as well. What if Christians “sacrificed” personal time and gave that time to working with the poor in their communities? What if Lent became a season of joyful giving of ourselves to those needing a friend or companionship? Why couldn’t Lent become a time when Christians daily shared the love of Christ with those most in need?
The season of Lent can be observed in a variety of ways. For me, however, there’s no better way to prepare myself for the observation of Christ’s sacrificial love than to practice that love with the poor, the hungry and those most in need.
Most gracious and compassionate God, how thankful I am this morning for the love you pour into Your children’s lives. We are sustained through Your everlasting mercy and your grace. I praise You for Your presence that never leaves nor forsakes us.
Today, we have another gift, the multitude of opportunities to reflect that love and grace You have already shown us. Help us embrace that gift. Help us reach out to those most in need of love and compassion.
Empower us through Your Holy Spirit to be ambassadors of reconciliation. Let us be true peacemakers in a world filled with conflict and violence. Let Your love flow through us that all those around us would feel Your love and acceptance.
Especially, Lord, I would ask that those who are fleeing their homes might know Your strength. Allow them a sense of Your presence that they might have a respite from their fear. And allow us who live in safety to reach out to them with the aid and relief most needed. Grant us all a spirit of hospitality.
Give us more love, Lord.
All of this we ask in the Name of the risen Christ. Amen
I don’t think Jesus really said that. At least. I cannot find it anywhere in the four gospels with which I am familiar.
But what I do find is a clear and direct mandate for all followers of Christ to treat everyone we meet, especially the poor, the hungry, and the rejected, as if they are the Christ. I read straightforward and unambiguous commands by Jesus for his disciples to feed the hungry, visit those in prison and to help those in need.
The only thing needed to reach out to help the poor is to love one another just as Christ loves us.
Most gracious and loving God, I come to you this morning to give you praise and offer you my heartfelt thanks. I worship you and open myself to you again.
Grant me your wisdom today. Allow me to see those around me through the eyes of Jesus and to respond with both grace and compassion. Help me be a voice of peace and reconciliation amid the cacophony of mistrust, hatred and fear.
And most gracious Creator, guide me throughout this day and this week that I may always be in the center of your perfect will for my life. Help my heart to stay attuned to the still small voice of your Spirit, and give me the courage to not only listen but to obey.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit grant me the power to be a good and faithful follower throughout this week. Let me prove my discipleship by my every word and action. Help me to be faithful in all things, both great and small.
I give you all praise, worship and honor. Glory be to your Name, both now and forever. Amen