“Just as you did it to the least of these…you did it to me…” Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 about caring for the most vulnerable have been read and preached about and turned into skits and litanies. They are unsettling in their clarity. Jesus does not ask us to be nice to those less fortunate. Jesus does not ask us to take pity on “those” poor people, as if they were separate from him. Jesus basically says that he is those marginalized in society and when we help those who are sick or cold or homeless or hungry or in prison, we are caring for him. In extending God’s love to those who have little, we are serving and loving Christ.
Who are those people in our community? Who are the ones who are poor or suffering or lonely? We know there are homeless people in Ames. We can care about them and do what we can to make sure everyone has shelter over their heads. There are certainly people who struggle to have enough food to put on the table. We can help connect people with the resources in the Ames community such as free meals at Food at First (United Methodist Church) and the food pantries. Bethesda Lutheran Church has a clothing closet for those who need clothes. We can contribute to that and make sure people who need it know about it. We can visit and send cards to people who are sick. We can visit those who are homebound and just need to know they are cared for.
As you think about the scripture and see Christ in those who are in need, what ways do you imagine responding? Are there neighbors you could check in on? Are there people you encounter in your daily life who just need a listening ear?
I like Epperly’s line “We are called to contribute beauty, creativity, goodness, and compassion to God’s evolving experience of the world.” (p.106) What will your contribution be?