The poor and the hungry do not need our charity. They need, and they deserve, justice. Every hungry person, every poor person we meet offers us the opportunity to reflect the love of Christ.
We live in a world that has grown much colder and much darker. Reaching our in mercy and compassion to the poor shines the light of hope for our society. The “least of these among us” offer us redemption. All we have to do is take it.
We have entered a time in the life of our nation when faithfulness to the Gospel is about to “get real” as they say. The chasm between patriotism and discipleship is growing ever wider. Executive orders are being issued daily that are in direct opposition to the values of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel lesson for this morning is Matthew 5:1-12. It’s the Sermon on the Mount, also known as the Beatitudes. As I have struggled to prepare a meaningful sermon for my small and aging congregation I have tried to be open to the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I could not stop the tears on seeing this teeshirt, Jesus as a refugee again brought home the ugly reality of authoritarian rhetoric being enacted into law.
I know that Jesus promises to bless us, I know that Jesus teaches us to live lives of love, mercy, nonviolence and compassion. The issue I am grappling with now is how to demonstrate that in a nation that is bowing down to one who ignores, even flaunts Christ’s example and teachings.
I know WWJD. What truly frightens me, is that I also know WWDD. The two are diametrically opposed.
I have committed myself to following the man from Nazareth. That means I cannot follow BLOTUS. I am truly saddened that many of my congregation are not able to make the same choice.
These are definitely words to remember as we go through the next four years. We have to work together to encourage each other and to demonstrate to the rest of the world that not everyone in our country has given up on love, mercy and caring for one another.
Each of us have the ability to help create a better world for all of us. We do not have to accept the values we do not believe are right, and that do not reflect who we are. We have the power to change the world.
We have the power to create a world where love, compassion and caring becomes the norm. I, for one, will not give in to those around me spewing hatred, fear, bigotry and racism. I will continue to fight for a world where human rights for all are accepted and promoted.
Vonnegut nails it. There are far too many who call ourselves Christians that still live with Old Testament values. As Christians, we have been set free from the law of retribution. We live in the grace of a crucified and resurrected Christ.
The four Gospels in the New Testament are our fullest accounts of the words and teachings of Jesus. Nowhere in those four Gospels can you find Jesus blessing anger, hatred, malice, revenge or even justice. Instead, He lifts up, both by word and example, the values of love, caring, compassion, forgiveness, nonviolence and living in peace.
It’s far easier to seek revenge, to retaliate and resort to violence in response to wrongs. But, that is not what Jesus taught. It’s not Christian. As Vonnegut says, give me a break!
Vengeance, retribution and the need to return violence for violence are all born out of fear. Perfect love casts out fear. It’s just a shame more of us who claim to follow Jesus cannot live as He taught us. Our world would be a far better place.