|From Chris Lenshyn's blog, Anabaptistly.|
This essay* on Matthew 25 as understood by a homeless woman caught my eye and grabbed my mind this morning. There's truth here, and an eye-opening slap of reality.
In a post titled "Epiphany" on Episcopal Cafe today, Linda Ryan wrote:
- I was hungry and you formed a humanities club and discussed my hunger. Thank you.
- I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel in the cellar and prayed for my release.
- I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
- I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
- I was homeless and you preached to me about the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
- I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
- Christian, you seem so holy; so close to God. But I'm still very hungry, and lonely, and cold...
The late Rev. John Stott wrote this based on a passage from Matthew 25, and it almost defies the reader to ignore it. Now, when it seems that the safety nets of the poorest and neediest of our citizens are being swiftly cut it seems more applicable than ever. What in the world are we doing?
Some insist we are a “Christian” nation but how can we be if we ignore the very people Jesus spoke about the most – the poor, the ill, the widows and orphans? How can we claim it if we enable the rich to get richer while the poor only get poorer? Whether we are Christian, a member of some other religion or no religion at all, we all bear a share of the blame.
The health of our nation depends on the health of its people, and our score right now is low and getting lower. Cuts to education, the elderly, the working poor, the children and the marginalized are weakening us on many fronts. Involvement in wars in other countries doesn’t win us many friends abroad as we penalize the soldiers and veterans who do the fighting by cutting their housing, training and benefits which doesn’t win us many friends at home.
Our children are less able to excel in the world education standings and our old people are treated almost like freeloaders and nuisances. The homeless are almost invisible, even as they lie on the sidewalks and park benches. Who cares? Obviously not big business or even our own elected officials.What do you think? Is it worth an extra effort to try to live by the exhortation of Matthew 25? Why or why not?
*A little Googling reveals that Mr. Stott, who died at the age of 90 in 2011, wrote the Matthew 25 reflection years ago, and it has been floating around the Internet for quite a while. I'm glad I finally saw it today in Linda Ryan's post on Episcopal Cafe. Click to read the full post.