Sitting here in Starbucks with some iced tea, just scribbling down some thoughts after the Sunday sermon. To be honest, it was a seriously challenging, throw-down kind of sermon. The kind that makes you squirm in your seat and avoid all eye contact. The kind that puts a choke hold on your heart. The best kind.
The truth sneaks up on you through the single harmless questions.
Who are we?
We the people?
We the church?
We the fiercely loved by God?
If someone watched a movie telling our life stories, who would they see?
Jesus gives us a glimpse of the story he invites us to be part of in Matthew 25: 34-40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Some days we struggle to “see” the kind of people Jesus describes in this story. In our day-to-day lives, most of us are not confronted by these real physical needs. But, as I read through this again I wonder if I am missing the true definition of the distress.
I picture Jesus asking me, do you see…
someone hungry for love?
someone thirsty for relief?
someone longing to be invited?
someone standing naked and abandoned?
someone feeling sick with regret?
someone imprisoned by shame?
And if you do, can you see me in their eyes? Would you do this for me?
Jesus invites us to be bold and step up.
Jesus invites us to be brave and step in.
Jesus invites us to love others like we love him.
With sincere love.
“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” 1 Peter 1:22
I believe when we step in, accepting the invitation to love Jesus by loving others, he answers that question I asked at the beginning of this journey.
Who are we?
We are ONE.
Thank you for always asking the right questions. The ones that make me squirm and check my heart. We make excuses because we don’t find the kind of people you describe in this scripture in our paths. Help us to see past our understanding and to see those we pass everyday with new eyes. Don’t let us turn away when we recognize that point of pain in their eyes. Because Lord, we proclaim that we will step in, because we recognize you in their faces and we would do it for you. Because your love propels us into that very place. We remember what it felt like to stand alone, and we will not leave someone you fiercely love longing to be invited. Oh Father, we know who we are, we are ONE with you. Let our lives proclaim that truth by the way we love others deeply with all our heart. Amen..