I came across this video on the Huffington Post after someone shared it on social media. In light of Sunday’s sermon on how the resurrection of Christ speaks to the end of injustice, it was deeply moving to watch. Please take a moment to check it out and listen to the sermon if you haven’t yet – this post will make more sense if you do.
After we came home on Sunday, my wife and I spoke about how deeply the sermon affected both of us. Especially because we have both felt compelled and have acted in the past to love and pursue those who face injustice in the world. Steph has spent months in remote parts of Peru caring for orphans and needy pregnant moms. I’ve been known to hang with the vagrants of Philly for days (often mistaken as one myself – to my joy) in hopes of building relationships. And yet we seem to do so little in present day. This seems counterintuitive because both of us would joyfully say that our love for Christ, the gospel, and people have only increased over the years. Of course, our schedules have become jam packed and other factors exist today that have not years ago. Yet, our hearts are convicted. Not condemned, but convicted.
Convicted because the gospel of Christ Jesus has reached down and grabbed a hold of a wretched, wandering, rebellious sinner like myself. He has breathed life into this dead corpse. He has given me salvation and eternal life. He has given himself for me. This should propel me to love and care for those who need help. And yet my arms are often stiff. My heart not moved enough to move my feet towards another. The point, again, is not guilt. But rather, to consider how the gospel has met you, how it has met me, and how that should inform our pursuit to end injustice in our cities and in our world. Being apart of God’s kingdom work for us means being apart of His cosmic work of ending injustice. It will look different for all of us, yes, but this work is indeed for all of us.
We were reminded on Sunday of the good work many of our people at SMR are doing – through initiatives like GCM, BTC, and our individual efforts. Amen and amen! Let’s continue! But let’s do more! Let’s see Jesus in the faces of those among us who are oppressed, homeless, rebellious, defeated, addicted, disturbing, difficult, and hurting. Hear Jesus say himself:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matt 25:34-40)
I get it. It’s difficult. It’s awkward. It’s dangerous. It’s complex. But so were we, and yet Jesus came for us. The good news is that it’s okay if we mess up. We’ll mess up together and our gracious God will forgive our ignorances. But may our fears of failure not keep us from action – lest we fall into the tragedy of neglect.