Am I my sister and brother’s keeper? When does that kick in? Does it mean anything to me? Let’s just read a passage together to start this discussion…
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25: 35-40
I’ll tell you about the real reasons I am writing about this passage in a couple of paragraphs but I want to ask the question: How do we determine, discern, reflect and pray about our care and participation for others? How does that happen? When does that happen? Does it ever happen?
I’ve often heard Bob Webber talk about the community in Brownfield, AB and how they help each other by sharing time, equipment, advice and they care for each other in times of joy and of need. I’ve often envied that kind of commitment… Christian to Christian… Christian to those who aren’t…
The passage talks about people who are naked getting clothing. In the Northern Hemisphere people are rarely naked but it makes a huge difference when New Life in Duncan provides new backpacks and school supplies for poorer kids going to school whose households have no discretionary income. Further, they provide really nice clothes for the mom’s of those children to apply for a job or to wear at the work site. Maybe not naked… but you get the drift…
When our daughter Jessica got married two weeks ago I felt like the adage: “It takes a village to raise a child”, had morphed into “It takes a group to help with logistics”. Such as when David Jenkins, Bobbi Salkeld and Stan Carmody and Peter Anderson and Anne Lam of West Point Grey – all helped me with simply yet important tasks. I felt supported and encouraged in a more modest way than this passage suggests. But the point remains that folk have been generous.
So why this passage and talk about who do we care for? For the first three weeks of September 500,000 school children in BC have not been attending school. 45,000 teachers have been on strike. Any number of lives have been thrown into complete disarray. Sure, places like Keats ran a strike camp and others pitched in where they could but in the largest social upheaval this province has known for several years, I did nothing… I thought the turmoil would be brief, I did not know what to do… I thought someone else had a plan. I contributed my general anxiety and worry to it all but in the end I did not do the bidding of Jesus in the simplest of ways and if I could not do it in this circumstance(the Lord being my helper), what will I not be doing in response to a whole host of other issues? I’m just reflecting on this out loud as an encouragement to pray and think and talk about these things. No sense of condemnation… just let us come and consider these things together.