Monday, November 11, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 309; Hosea 11-12; Psalm 103; Matthew 5

This post is offered in the wake of superstorm Haiyan striking the Philippines on its way to landfall in Viet Nam and China.
As I sit this morning, pondering Jesus' sermon on the mount and the warding visions of Hosea, my heart breaks at the power of the Christ in Matthew as he names as blessed those human beings who dwell on the fringes of well-being in the human community. He remembers, and reminds us that God is particularly fond of the poor, those who mourn. the meek, the hungry, the oppressed. God treasures the merciful, the humble, the peacemakers. God loves those who live for righteousness' sake, who strive to act in the face of despair.

Being a part of a community that is in the process of recovering from our own "superstorm" experience, my heart breaks as it goes out to the people who have weathered the landfall of this latest, devastating typhoon. Storms like these are the great equalizers. No matter if you are rich or poor, powerful or weak, if you dwell in the storms path you will be affected. So many people have been killed. So many have lost loved ones, homes, livelihoods, the basic moorings of life. It will be years of recovery.

Our job as people of faith is to remember that God is remembering them and loving them--even as God remembers and loves us as we weather the storms of our lives. The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount provoke us to hold on to the basic truth that regardless of station in life we are all in this together, bound to each other in a common journey. In God's economy, every person counts and every human life has weight and merit. One person having more means that they have more of an opportunity to do more in this world to affect the lives of those who have less. Of those who have "less?" Even at our most abject, we still possess the resource of a heart to love and hands to serve.

One parishioner said during a recent Bible study of this set of passages, "God just keeps raising the bar on us." It's true. God is always reminding us that the world, creation, human society, is bigger than our own backyard. If we are to believe that we are the body of Christ in this world...and that the Christ is the incarnate Son of the God...the creation, all of it, is our theater of operations.

Time for us to get to work....

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