I start this with wanting to wish everyone an open mind, open heart, and in hopes it may call those who read it to action.
This is not my normal sermon, nor one I hoped as a cleric to ever have to write. See, I believed that if I gave out The Word, as I have been commanded to…spoke of peace, love, tolerance, and understanding…hope, joy, and the promises my Master gave…that it would somehow inspire and move people enough to realize what I have been trying to do and say all these years…
Sadly, I see little of what I had hoped for.
See, I look at my feed on facebook and what do I see? Politics…this candidate is wrong, this one is right… hatred of this race, love of this one….recipes for cakes….cartoons (and not that I am against those, you understand…for I too have a wicked sense of humor) but I see THESE types as decrying one thing or another in hopes of swaying someone to believe one set of ideals or another…politics or anger at some social thing.
I had hoped to see “I went to this shelter, and fed this many” or “I saw this person in need, and I helped them”..yes, I have seen one or two like that, and it always stirs me….but winter is coming, you see.
The forecasters have said this will be one of the most brutal winters on record…how it will be severe with snow, cold, and well below zero temperatures…and I think of all those who have nothing, or nowhere to go.
This world has become so jaded, so scared of itself, that good people cannot do anything for fear of being robbed, or attacked, or hated for doing GOOD things.
Take me, for instance.
I have been preaching love, understanding, healing….for 8 years now. Every day I wake up to an inbox filled with hatred of the vilest sort. Anger at who I am..what I do…who I help…and these attackers all go by one name: Christian.
How can that be?
How can they justify attacking someone who is only doing what is right? Doing what Christ TOLD us to do?
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” – Mark 16:15
I remember an old saying “If God be for us, who can stand against us?” (BTW: they took that from Romans 8:31, just to be clear) …and yet they seldom embody the principles and instructions He gave to us to help one another.
I see governments passing laws making it illegal to be poor or homeless….I see them keeping people so afraid to help ANYONE because of the colour of their skin…or their religion…or where they are from…
Sad really, when you think about it.
We used to pride ourselves on the quality of our hearts, of our generosity…now we measure ourselves by the bank ledger, or goods we own…
I have tried to set the example…I have no money, nor property, yet I give all that I find (be it the pennies others have dropped on the sidewalk, or the extra can of soup in the larder) to any who have naught regardless of their colour, or race, or religion…
…I had hoped this would inspire others to do the same.
My Master set out what He expected of us in a parable…
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
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, 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.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“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.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” – Matthew 25:31-45
“But”, you say “The government has made it illegal to help the poor”…..
Who rules your heart?
Who do you put your hope in?
Who promises you life…is it the government? Or God…?
When you appear before God in Judgement, how will you justify your actions? Will you say “It was not convenient at the time”..? THIS WILL NOT DO…you cannot set aside the dictates of God for the laws of man…
Even my Master said “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” (Luke 20:25 …yes, pay your taxes…yes, obey the law of the land…but when the law of the land tries to negate the law of God, then you must choose.
Sure, it may mean a jail time, or fine…heck, I myself have been cautioned by the police on several occasions about feeding the homeless….but have I stopped? No.
I am not strictly speaking about MEN…for homeless is not limited to mankind…
I am talking about those animals whom God entrusted us to care for as well.
I see stray dogs, cats…I feed them as well..
And yes, I have been cautioned about THEM as well…
It is NOT convenient for me to be arrested, or locked up for going against their laws….for many here would miss my presence…however, I cannot name ONE SINGLE PERSON who would be angry with me FOR doing what I do.
I cannot see one person rebuking me for following the laws of God rather than the laws of man….
So, if I can do it…what’s stopping YOU?
This winter promises to be bitter…that is fact…so…what can YOU do? I am sure there is at least one or two cans of food that would not go amiss from YOUR larder..there is probably a blanket or clothing that is in your closet that YOU can live without…..
Or, to put it the way my Master said…
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.
Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper.
‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”” – Luke 10:26-37
I say to you all…for every one of you who have come to me for aid, solace, or comfort…for spiritual knowledge, or relief from life’s pain….for every one of you who came to me that I have never turned away…for the times I spent leaving my own rest so that I could help you find your’s…for ignoring my own problems so that I could make your’s go away….
“GO, AND DO LIKEWISE”….