“When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?”
Driving to Roseland Christian Ministries on a busy morning, I sometimes feel discouraged with the never-ending line of people at the doors needing groceries, a meal, a bus pass, a utility bill paid, a friend, or a letter to a judge on behalf of a young person in legal trouble.
As I wait for the traffic light to turn green, I stare ahead, pretending to be on my phone while a man stands outside my car window asking for money. Sometimes I roll the car window down, make eye contact, and talk with the person outside. When I do, I’m reminded of my weaknesses, and I’m grateful for this community that embraces all people.
In Jesus’ parable the goats are people who ignore neighbors that are imprisoned, hungry, and suffering. The sheep are people who offer a cup of cold water, shelter, and compassion to neighbors that are hurting. The big reveal of the parable is that Christ is present with “the least of these,” and we are called to serve hurting and humiliated people in Jesus’ name.
We have the opportunity to serve Christ when we care for people who are hurting. If we think we are happy in our comfortable, safe lives, we are invited to let go of our illusions and enter community with others. This is the body of Christ. We need others, and others need us. We roll the window down and enter community, for Jesus’ sake.
God, give us the strength to love and the will to enter community and let others in. Doing so, may we sense the very presence of Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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