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Week of: November 26, 2017
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
(Matthew 25:37, NRSV)
Ah, the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats — there is so much to love about this passage! First, there is no mystery about what it looks like to be a "saved" people; the test and the answers are listed right here, plain for all to see! When you see someone in hunger, feed them! When you see someone in prison, don’t let them suffer in isolation; visit them, for God’s sake!
Secondly, the sheep don’t know they are sheep and the goats don’t know they are goats! Do you see it? We read this gospel lesson on Reign of Christ / Christ the King Sunday because it is Christ who is the head of God’s reign, Christ and not anyone else. And because Christ sits where he does, he sees the image of God in each person on earth.
Even though we can’t always see the image of God in others as quickly as Jesus does, we are still called to treat everyone as if they are Christ: it is not up to us to judge whether anyone is worthy of help, love, grace, justice, mercy and dignity! Our calling is to help those who need help. "Be Thou My Vision," indeed!
How are we, as worship artists, helping our people see that God is at work and already present in the lives of all people, not just the ones who come through the doors of our institutions? And, further, how do we serve as a bridge between the worship inside the walls of our institutions and our people’s worship outside of those walls?
Jesus, on this Sunday when we celebrate the goodness, righteousness, and holy justice embodied in your reign, may the Spirit enable us to move beyond our preconceived ideas about our fellow humans and break open our hearts to their needs, so that we may alleviate suffering wherever we see it, just as Jesus did. Amen.
Executive Minister of Worship and Arts
Grace Avenue United Methodist Church