From the Rector’s Study
Sunday, November 22nd, Reign of Christ
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Psalm 100, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25:31-46
Is it realistic for us to see helping others as helping Christ himself? It is a nice thought, but is it helpful and is it a concept we can actually practice? After all, in the parable, the sheep, the ones praised for caring for those in need, actually deny it was helping Christ by saying; when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison?
So this begs the question; why do they do it? Perhaps because we can see ourselves as being like those we help. All of us have others provide for our hunger and thirst, even if we can repay them for it. It is the same for clothes. We all like to think we would be welcomed when in new and strange situations, and be supported and cared for when sick. As Bo Lozoff says in his book; We’re all doing time, that we are all in some kind of prison, sometimes of our own making.
This means we all have something in common, and can relate to others and thus care for others, whether we recognize it or not. Maybe that is the catch, those who don’t realize their connection to others and those in need, act in two ways; they are either like the goats in the passage and don’t help those in need, or help in a way that is called the charity model. Meaning they give out of a feeling of superiority and expect gratitude from the recipients, rather than helping those in need to find ways of helping themselves. The phrase I have used before is a hand up not a hand out. There are times in the short term when a hand out is needed, but it should not stop there.
The idea which comes to mind is; food banks were meant to be temporary and a stopgap solution and not to be permanent. Yet we still have them, and in this time are more needed than ever.
This may be following the summary of the law; to love God, neighbour and self.
That if it is not in some kind of balance that we have missed the mark, and that all three are connected.
This brings up the question; why this message for the Reign of Christ?
Maybe the collect we recited has some answers.
grant that the peoples of the earth,
now divided and enslaved by sin,
may be freed and brought together
under his gentle and loving rule;