“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25: 35-36)
“For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” (Matthew 25: 42-43)
Today, Wednesday, October 2, I’m heading to Grace Lutheran in Mountain Home. It’s my weekly trek there to be available for pastoral care in that place, safely done of course. Today though, it’s different. Today we see that Grace Lutheran has chosen to emulate the first set of verses and not the second. Grace Lutheran has an incredible ministry that’s been going on for years. They have a food bank on steroids in my opinion. They come together and make sure that people who Jesus calls the “least of these” have enough food to eat.
That’s ministry not just for these times, but for all times. Jesus is speaking to us today as much as he was to those in Jerusalem just a few days before, those who did not care for the poor put him on a cross to die. These are stark choices, either you care for the poor or you don’t. If you don’t then you are not on the side of Jesus.
Almost all churches I’ve had anything to do with has always had some kind of food ministry. Perhaps it’s a large scale food pantry or partnerships with local food banks or perhaps, you have a dinner for the homeless. All show that commitment to the message of Jesus.
Everything I’ve heard about the next few months is that it is going to be difficult, as if it hasn’t been difficult already. People will continue to get sick and they will continue to die of Covid. People will still be hungry. It will be especially difficult for “the least of these” who don’t have the kind of resources we have. Our churches are already stepping up, but I ask us all to help in the ministry that Jesus has asked us to embrace. We can and do make a difference.
Let us pray...
Holy One, you satisfy our hungry hearts with bread and wine, the body and blood of Jesus. Please help us satisfy the hungry bellies of those who do not have food to eat. Open our hearts to the suffering ones of the world. In the name of him who asked us to feed the hungry. Amen