There are moments in our everyday living when we are confronted by the challenge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The question that sits before us always then is how do we choose to respond to the challenge of Christ.
This morning happened to be one such moment and I am overwhelmed and floored by the response of my community.
We are a small community, faithful followers of Jesus Christ who share the stories of Jesus Christ through using the revised common lectionary, a plan for reading the scriptures. For those who understand what this means, today was the day when we proclaim the reign of Christ as the christian calendar draws to a close and we begin the season of preparation for the coming of Immanuel. God with us.
In my reading and preparation over the last weeks I had been talking about the kingdom and what it means to live every day as first and last. Today we concluded this series with the theme of kingdom values, taken from the reading of Matthew 25 (vs 31-46) and the Old Testament lesson from Ezekiel.
In these readings we are challenged to practice the kind of kingdom values Jesus teaches us through our care, concern and justice for the weak, poor and vulnerable in this world.
As I prepared to pray this morning with one of the pastoral carers before our time of gathering in worship commenced, I was made aware of a man who had walked through our front door looking for assistance as he had been living in his car. Our community is small and so any newcomer is noticed. So after talking with him a little, I entrusted his care to one of my congregants and began to pray and prepare to speak, letting him know I would speak with him again over morning tea.
The question of the day for us was Where in your local area is the gospel of hope most needed? How can you take it there?
So let me ask you, how do you respond when the area of need walks straight through your front door?
You treat them as though they were Christ himself walking into your midst.
As the discussion went on and it became clear what needed to happen, I was amazed when one of my community suggested we should give him our roof over his head as we tried to help him figure out what was needed to find something more stable and permanent. And after my initial surprise at this response, readily agreed. It was settled. So with accommodation sorted, the next detail was bedding. Food and water were not an issue as the church is equipped with these. It was getting into my car and the conversation with my daughter that took place that made me become really aware of the power of God at work in this instance. When she offered her own pillow off her bed, who am I to tell her no when she is clearly living out her own responses to the challenge of the gospel of Christ at work in each of us.
God was at work, God is at work and God continues to be working.
Praise God for hearts that are open and willing to hear the challenge of compassion AND respond with radical hospitality and extravagant generosity.