Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where Has Grace Gone? by Jeremi

From James 2:1-10, 14-17

1-4My dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, "Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!" and either ignore the street person or say, "Better sit here in the back row," haven't you segregated God's children and proved that you are judges who can't be trusted?

My home parish runs a soup kitchen that feeds up to 200 people in one day. It's good, hard work. Our congregation is small and includes a few worshippers without homes. They sit in the last pew, or at the back of the church. When we come together to share the Peace, people embrace each other as brothers and sisters. Some venture to the last pew and extend a hand. One day during coffee hour a rich woman told me that though it does her heart good to see the homeless, it was another situation altogether to shake their hand, because after all, you don't know what these kind of people pick up in the streets. I've often wondered how she would react if she knew I was a lesbian.

5-7Listen, dear friends. Isn't it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world's down-and-out as the kingdom's first citizens, with full rights and privileges.

God operates differently from the way we do, and in the most delighful ways.

This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn't it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren't they the ones who scorn the new name—"Christian"—used in your baptisms?

Lord, things don't change much do they?

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