Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Do we measure up?

Jesus was clear: those who enter the Kingdom are those who cared for others. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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, 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." (Matthew 25:34-36)
2,000 years later, in this "Christian" society, we measure gross national product, rather than poverty relief. We count battles won, rather than prisoners reformed. We idolize those with loud voices or fast feet, rather than the steady comforters of the lost and broken. As churches we count members and tithes, and not lives resurrected. How far we remain from the Kingdom!
Poet T.S. Eliot offers us this Lenten reflection:
When the Stranger says:
"What is the meaning of this city?"
Do you huddle close together because you love each other?
What will you answer? "We all dwell together
to make money from each other"? or "This is community"?
O my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger,
Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.
O weariness of those who turn from God
To the grandeur of your mind and the glory of your action
To arts and inventions and daring enterprises,
To schemes of human greatness thoroughly discredited,
Binding the earth and the water to your service,
Exploiting the seas and developing the mountains,
Dividing the stars into common and preferred,
Engaged in developing the perfect refrigerator,
Engaged in working out a rational morality,
Engaged in printing as many books as possible,
Plotting of happiness and flinging empty bottles,
Turning from your vacancy to fevered enthusiasm
For nation or race or what you call humanity;
Though you forget your way to the Temple,
There is one who remembers the way to your door:
Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.
You shall not deny the Stranger.

As we approach the Cross, let us pray for our own redemption, the conversion of our hearts and lives.

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