Feed My Sheep
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Matthew 25:35-40 New International Version (NIV)
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Midweek Musings 6/26/19
I recently read an article about Fiorello LaGuardia, for whom of course LaGuardia Airport is named.
He was a three–term New York City mayor and was popular across party lines. He was a Republican but was also an ardent supporter of FDR. He did not let party politics drive his decision making. For example he also spoke out against prohibition when almost all pollical leaders and both parties refused to take sides in the movement. He had seen the devastation of bootleg whiskey on public health and wanted it to be legal and regulated. LaGuardia according to his own assistants simply wouldn’t be “handled.”
In addition to doing things his way, he was also a very colorful figure with a flair for the dramatic. One of the things he was known for doing was showing up at what was then known as police court and stepping in to serve as the judge.
Both the prosecution and defense would stare up at the bench in wide-eyed amazement to see the Mayor as the judge.
Once he did this on an icy cold winter’s day. A shivering old man was brought before him. The charge: taking a loaf of bread from a bakery.
While being questioned, the man admitted to committing the crime, but justified it because his family was starving.
“I have to punish you,” declared LaGuardia. “The law allows of no exceptions. I have to fine you ten dollars.”
But then he felt in his pocket and added: “Here’s ten dollars to pay the fine. … And now,” he continued, raising his voice, “I impose on everyone present in this courtroom a fine of fifty cents—for living in a town where folk must steal bread in order to live—Sergeant, collect the money at once and hand it over to the accused.”
The hat made the rounds and a still half–incredulous man left the court with $47.50 in his pocket.
Now we could argue about the role of government and whether LaGuardia should have fined the courtroom, but the point he was making is clear. We live in a world where no one should ever go hungry…but sadly they do. And it’s not because there is a lack of food, but a lack of willingness to get food to those who need it. The heart-breaking truth is we live on a small planet where children die of hunger every year.
When Jesus walked on the earth, he taught his disciples about feeding people, not just spiritually but also physically.
That is part of the purpose of those Presbyterian Hunger Program banks many of us have been using to collect change. It reminds us that we are all connected as brothers and sisters through God, and that as such we are called to care for one another.
We will collect them for the first time this Sunday; you are invited to bring them up front when you arrive. You are also invited to bring a can good or two for our food-box. Regardless of the amount of money raised, the most important things we will be stating are that:
~ We believe no one in our world should have to steal bread in order to live.
~ Scripture reminds us to help make sure daily bread is a reality for everyone.
~ We continue to pray that the Kingdom of God where no one is hungry will
truly be on earth even as it is in heaven.