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Posts Tagged ‘#theleastofthese’

If, like me, you didn’t grow up with an understanding of the church calendar (other than Christmas and Easter) you might not realize that the church equivalent to New Years happened this past weekend.

Sunday, November 22, was the Feast of Christ the King. I admit, I had never heard of it until last year, when the pastor spoke about it and his own excitement for this date rubbed off on me.

In the aftermath of World War I, Pope Pius noted that, while hostilities had ceased, true peace had not been restored to the world and the different classes of society … he maintained that true peace may only be found under the Kingship of Christ as the “Prince of Peace.”

holycommunion.org

Thus, the Feast of Christ the King.

Despite the desire for peace through the kingship of Christ, today we still live with the peace-less divisions within classes, genders, ethnicities, economic groups, etc.

We are still in need of the Prince of Peace, Christ the King.

As I looked into the Feast of Christ the King celebration for this past weekend, the gospel passage that was read was Matthew 25:31-46. This passage is that of The Sheep and the Goats, but I would call it Jesus is Gonna Set Religious Peeps, like us, on our Bottoms.

So, as with much of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is flipping the traditional understanding of religion, redemption and of himself as Messiah on the poor religious leaders.

He tells a story, not just a fanciful, fictional tale, but a prophesy of what is to come. It is a story that should reverberate in our minds and hearts even today, causing us to shake in our boots, as we consider how to care for others.

He speaks these words, communicating that if we want to serve him, we do so by serving the least in our communities, “for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’” (v. 42-43)

The people were aghast, shocked with Jesus’ words, for they had not starved him, let him go without drink, not welcomed him, left him unclothed or without a visit.

It wasn’t that something wrong had been done, but that what was right (in his eyes … helping “the least of these”) had not been done.

It wasn’t a sin of commission (doing something wrong) but a sin of omission (not doing what is right).

Jesus calls us to see him as king, as the prince of peace and we are to be his agents of peace in this world, on his behalf but also recognizing that we are responsible to love him, but loving the least.

This reminds me of a curious verse in the beloved Christmas carol, O Holy Night :

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother,
and in his name all oppression shall cease,
sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
let all within us praise his holy name.

Christ the King, the Prince of Peace … for the slave, the oppressed … a most modern (timeless) carol.

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As the day of your birth approached, I was thinking about the dreams I have had over the years for you, my first born daughter.

Dreams about how you would make the world a better place.

My first, and most grand dream was pretty basic … that you live. For those of us who have known loss before that first breath this basic sign of life becomes the grandest dream.

Actually, it is probably similar to your grandest dreams for those who you work with, as an addictions counsellor … that they might continue to have the breath of life.

I have watched you, heard you share stories from your work … stories that break my heart, leave me with questions that I later pour out in prayer. I hear these stories with ears of a momma … aching for the aching, for what they are missing in life, for the traumas that they have experienced that have led them to such destruction.

I see your heart most clearly when I hear you speak of those you work with in your day (and night) job. I hear your hopes for their futures, I sense the hints of your dreaming for them, for their lives.

And here, in your workplace … whether in your office, or on the streets of a ‘skid row’ (in the middle of the night … ), or over a coffee, or at a park, or as they are coming off a high, or as you administer Naloxone to save their lives …

YOU are making a difference in your world.

Matthew 25 tells us the parable of the sheep and the goats. It is the final parable that Jesus shares (final things said and done should be noted because … they were Jesus final attempt at telling us how to live).

“The King will say to them, `Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things …

  • filling in forms for people who need help
  • finding a safe place for someone to live, to sleep
  • administering Narcan, in a drive thru, to someone who is turning blue, after overdosing on an opioid … after a long day working in a drug treatment residence
  • taking a kid to get the first food they’ve eaten in days
  • being threatened by someone for supporting a teen girl who needed to leave a dangerous home environment
  • sitting and hearing the woes of an addict, while silently suffering with your own physical pain
  • hearing the stories of sexual abuse of teens by boyfriends, uncles, fathers, brothers, foster parent and on, and on, and on again

… for one of the least important of these, you did them for me!'”

You are living the dream, girl. You have breath in your lungs and you are using what you have been uniquely gifted and called to do, in a way that can change someone’s day, their life, this world.

This work you do it beyond what I had dreamed for you … but not beyond what your Creator made you fully equipped to fulfil.

I am so proud of how you love and help those who in our society are often seen as the least.

Happy birthday sweet girl.

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