Friday, December 12, 2008

among us

Read Luke 22:14-30

We should reach critical mass sometime next week. With Christmas Day getting closer and closer, with more and more activities at school, with meetings almost every night, the annual meltdown should take place soon (mid-week is my best guess). There is just too much to do.

It's the same thing at the church. More services to prepare, several newsletter articles to be submitted, end of the year 'business.' And the people have an amazing variety of ways by which they can share their gifts. In addition to the choir, worship, Session, potluck dinner, there is the host of voices singing of their needs - trees on which to hang mittens, hats and scarves for those who have none; food collections; a box for toys, books, school supplies; opportunities to give to any number of charities, sacred and secular. There is just too much to do.

Yet, as hard to believe as it may be, the songs in the stores will be silenced, the shelves cleared of all the 'stuff' (after one final push of post-holiday sales), all the bowl games will take up time on the TV, we will be preparing for an historic presidential inauguration.

And in the background, where they always have been and always will be, will be the hungry and homeless, the wandering and wondering, the families who must choose between food or medicine, the lost, the last, the least, the little who are such an intimate part of Jesus's family. The ones whose needs continue every day, every week, every month, not through any fault of theirs, it is just the way of the world.

But this is the way Jesus came to change, this is the world Jesus came to challenge. Recognizing that the hunger will grow and the available food will diminish, knowing that the winter winds will continue to slice through lives and the coat box will be empty, aware of the kids who go to bed each night scared and lonely, this is why Jesus tells us he is among us as one who serves.

Not just during a month, but through a lifetime; not just on his birth, but through his death; not just in the season of joy and giving, but in the years of emptiness and despair. He is among us as one who serves, and he simply hopes that we will join him, not just now, but in all the nows to come.

Prayer: You came to serve, Blessing of Bethlehem, in all the places, to all your children, through all your followers. Help us to continue to serve at your side. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

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