Friday, February 26, 2016

Love - The Jesus Way

Photo credit: pixabay.com

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Matthew 25: 42-45 (NIV)

I can’t help it. I keep coming back to this verse.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, … the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others with the comfort we have received.”  (2 Cor. 1:3-4) They say that when you have a hammer, everything is a nail.  Perhaps this verse is my hammer.

I sat watching the Dreamworks version of the Joseph story recently, and was struck with how angry Joseph must have been when he saw his brothers, and realized his dreams were true.  I wondered how he worked through the chaos of that moment.  How does he move past it?

The kids and I are also reading about Mother Teresa.  She developed a teaching mantra: The poor people are Jesus. When we care for the destitute and dying, we care for Jesus.  When young nuns had difficulty in their early days cleaning sores with live maggots and gangrene, they anchored themselves with the belief that they were touching and caring for Jesus in that very moment.

Maybe Teresa saw what Joseph saw: the new paradigm - serve Jesus. Jesus is the homeless man and the dying woman and the confused kid with OCD and anxiety.  Jesus is my son with his inconvenient interruptions, my husband who did that same thing for the umpteenth time, my mom requesting help to navigate the modern world of technology. Jesus is the significant other in all my relationships. My response to Jesus reflected in these people is my single most important act of worship.  And what can I offer?  The comfort that I have been given.  I can care because I’m cared for. I can love because I’m loved. I give what I have been given.  From Jesus, to Jesus.  God takes care of both ends.

Lord, help me to bypass the rationalizations that keep me away from the mess in my relationships and to embrace the new paradigm, the Jesus way.  Bring the Jesus way into my family and my relationships in a new way today. Transform contractual, 'eye for an eye 'relationships into love covenants with you at the center.  Pour yourself into my husband and my children and everyone I connect with, as I lovingly serve Jesus in them.
Amen.

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