S (Scripture): Matthew 25:31 “Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.
34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36 I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
37 “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’
O (Observation): Jesus continues to turn the view of God’s reign on its ear. So many expected God to be found solely in the spaces that were holy, amongst people who were “clean,” and certainly not amid the afflicted nor in the prisons. And yet, Jesus places God in all of these situations.
Jesus describes the joy and usefulness of being with those who are sick and in prison. For in these acts of selflessness, God is there! These acts are as if God is receiving our assistance.
In the act of visiting the sick and imprisoned, God is made real. God is not only a being then, but God is made manifest through these interactions. So in the very act of kindness being shown from one to another THERE is God.
A (Application): Is God just what I see and have heard? Is the only way for God to be made manifest to be done so in the person of Jesus? Is God not manifest in creation, all around us? (Not that God IS everything, but that God is REVEALED in everything that is good in creation.)
When I tell someone of the Good News, is Jesus the one and only thing to share? Well, for me, that is the path…to know God’s love made real in Jesus Christ, dead and resurrected.
But that path may not be for everyone. What if I seek the same values of peace and serving neighbors in need while working alongside my Muslim neighbors (which I do, by the way)? What of that?
If I am feeding the homeless and praying with the sick…is God not there? What if my Muslim friend does this with me? Is Jesus there? Must Jesus be acknowledged? Or can we do the good, without forcing someone to convert?
P (Prayer): Lord, you work through many different means of grace. May we be your means of grace this day. Amen.