Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
The Christmas story features the last, the least, the lost and the forgotten. Mary would sing the Magnificat;
“My soul proclaims your greatness O God, and my spirit rejoices in you, you have looked with love on your servant here, and blessed me all my life through. Great and mighty are you O Holy One, strong is your kindness ever more. How you favor the weak and lowly one, humbling the proud of heart.”
A teenage Mary from a non-descript town, a blue-collar carpenter no one had ever heard of, shepherds and unclean foreigners, the Christmas story features the last, the least, the lost, and the forgotten.
Some 30 years later, when Jesus began his ministry, he stood up in the synagogue and read from the Prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Near the end of his ministry, as the shadow of the cross was cast before his forward journey, Jesus reminded the disciples that his mission was to be their mission. “Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison? Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these you did unto me.” That’s right, God continues to have a bias for the last, the least, the lost, and the forgotten.
2020 is mercifully slipping into the pages of history; in a few days we will move forward in faith into 2021. It is a new year and a time to be hopeful. We have great reason for hope. But before we say goodbye to 2020, the people of Trinity Lutheran Church made a statement, a statement of grace and generosity grounded in the mission entrusted to us by the Christmas Child.
On December 11th after decisive action by the Endowment Committee, and with immediate approval of the Church Council, the people of TLC gave $35,000 to aid our neighbors and strangers affected by the pandemic. In a twelve-hour period, we moved from deliberation to approval to the disbursement of funds. $7,500 to Good Cheer, $7,500 to Helping Hand, $7,500 to the World Hunger Appeal, $7,500 to Lutheran World Relief Covid19 response, and $5,000 to Gifts from the Heart Foodbank.
Blessed to be a blessing. We are never blessed in isolation. We are called to follow the one who was born in a drama that lifted up the last, the least, the lost, and the forgotten. We are called to follow the one who came to bring good news to the poor. I thank you for your generosity, and I thank our leaders for acting quickly to bring relief to our neighbors.
What does this all mean? It means that there are people in the world who are alive today that would not have been alive without our help. There are people in our community who are nourished today, who would have been hungry without our help. There are people in the world sleeping under shelter tonight, who would have been homeless without our help. There is no room for inflated egos or self-congratulation, all that we have belongs to God anyway. But saying thank you is always in style, and I want to say thank you this day.
The church has often excelled at things that we were never called to do; judging, excluding, legislating, protecting the institution at all costs, and condemning the last, the least, the lost, and the forgotten.
May we look hopefully to 2021. May we seize every opportunity to follow the Christmas Child and excel at caring for the last, the least, the lost, and the forgotten.
One day closer.