Just as You Did It

protest on streets
…‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
(From Matthew 25:40)

It is reassuring that we are members of Christ’s family. It is reassuring that if we treat each other as Jesus treated others that we are treating Jesus that way.

Who are members of your extended family? Who do you treat with respect, care and love as Jesus showed us and commanded us?

There is a cancer in our country that is hurting us all. It is the cancer of anger and hatred—hatred for the another’s race; hatred of another’s politics; hatred of another’s religion; hatred of another’s criminal justice views; hatred of another’s World Health Organization views; and on and on.

Is this how Jesus wanted us to treat the least of these who are members of his family? With so much hatred in the world, how are we to show the love of Christ to others? How are we to be ‘little Christs’ to those who do not have our particular understanding of how people should live?

With the US election happening in just a couple more months and a few days, it seems the hatred is building. People are striking out against the other side making life scary for many people.

An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:46-48 NRSV)

If the least among us is the greatest, how can we treat each other in such a way that destroys others’ property, cutting people down based on their ethnicity or religion? How can we allow uninhibited shootings on our streets that have killed the least of these—children innocent of any harm to others!!? How can we stand quietly by as police shoot unarmed individuals? How can we not support those who are trying to maintain law and order? 

So, demonstrations against the government occurs because of what is happening on our streets. Protesters oftentimes turn in to rioters who destroy innocent owners’ property and loot stores. It’s a conundrum that we stand for people who are oppressed, but allow others to hurt bystanders and business owners as they protest for the same thing we are protesting. 

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the hatred we are experiencing. How can we as Christians—the body of Christ—reflect how Jesus wants us to treat each other? How can we stand up against injustice but not stand up for the innocent that are being hurt by the protests?

Prayer, for me, is the answer. Pray for our politicians to be concerned for everyone in our nation and our world. Pray for the protesters to show compassion for their just cause and show kindness to the general public and business owners. Pray for ecumenical work between all religions for the just cause of those in need. Pray for our criminal justice system for equity in their treatment of all. Pray for the just treatment of those who are responsible to maintain law and order in our country and the world. Pray for the World Health Organization that cures can be found for diseases that are hurting so many in our world such as COVID-19. Pray for the United Nations to unite for justice for all. Pray for healing of anger and hatred in our world. Pray for our own eyes to be opened by the healing Spirit to see how we should treat and welcome the ‘least among us’; least of these who are members of our own human family and help us to be ‘little Christs’ to others.

Let us pray...

In the certain hope that nothing can separate us from your love, we offer these prayers to you; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Amen.

Paul Malek

Paul Malek

ELCA Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Ontario, Oregon

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sarah H

    Hi Paul,
    I appreciate the call to prayer. Prayer is an absolutely necessary and effective part of the life of faith. Yet I would like to offer a bit of nuance if I may. There have been times past (both personally and corporately) where I have witnessed prayer being used as a way to give us an emotional release while letting us off the hook from having to do the work of justice and mercy. We are called to take up our cross and follow Christ into the messy and uncomfortable spaces that require us to be salt and light. I believe prayer gives us wisdom and discernment so that we are able to navigate those spaces with grace and integrity. Prayer sustains us in the moments that look like defeat. In prayer we invite God to be with us and affirm that God is already present. Prayer is an absolutely vital tool of discipleship but is not a substitute for the work of actively serving “the least of these.”

  2. Mary Braudrick

    Thank you, Paul, for your wisdom re: prayer; and, Sarah, for your reminder re: the work. Both take discipline & dedication to our Calling in Christ.

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