Loving Christ by meeting one another’s need: Meditation for the 10th Sunday after trinity
Humility, which we discussed, last week, as the way of Christ, entails seeking the welfare of others even to the detriment and inconvenience of oneself. This is exactly what Christ did and urged His followers to do as well. The Collect for today states that the Lord Jesus “has taught us that what we do for the least of our brethren we do also for Him” and then prays that God will “give us the will to be the servant of others, as He was the servant of all, who gave up His life and died for us.” Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and charged them to go and do likewise, thus continuing in the service of one another. He also declared that the hallmark of being His disciple is loving one another (Jn 13:35). To love Christ is to obey His command (Jn 14:15); and His new command is: “Love one another” (Jn13:34).
Caring is necessary to pass the Lord’s Judgment: The Gospel for the Day (Matt. 25:31-46)
The Gospel is the Lord’s parable on the Judgment Day – what the judgment day will be like. The judgment was based on how they treated Jesus! But it was not the case of seeing and knowing Him as Christ before treating him well or badly. Their treatment of Christ was determined by their treatment of their needy brothers. It is not certain whether the Lord set out to give the criteria for Divine judgment in the story. But it is evident that He deliberately revealed the mind of God or the value He placed on human being whom He created in His image.
There will be surprises on the Judgment day. There are some who think that, they would get in but will be disappointed. They will be surprised that they don’t make it because what they hold on is not counted on. Some who will make it will also be surprised, not necessarily because they made it, but also because of what will really count.
Many who appear pious and spiritual will be disappointed if they don’t show practical love to others. Vertical relationship (with God) without horizontal one (with man) is sheer hypocrisy and useless. Loving Christ without commitment to His mission as revealed in the “Nazareth Manifesto” (Lk 4: 18-19) is vague.
The Church’s Social Concern
Social concern (serving people/meeting their needs) is paramount for the church. It is called diakonia and has been at the heart of the church’s mission and ministry. The Bible has been consistent about this. Some shy away from it because they don’t want to be seen as preaching social gospel. But the truth is that social concern is at the heart of the Gospel.
The Bible explicitly says that none can love God whom he doesn’t see if he doesn’t love man whom he sees.It is true that God called us all as individuals, but He called us into a fellowship. Thus, none can get back to Him all alone on the Judgment day and expect to receive accolade.
Fellowship, Communion, Brotherly love, Welfare or Care is a very essential part of our Christianity and spirituality.The earliest church, as seen in the Epistle for today (Acts 2:41-47), understood and lived this. Penury was dealt a deathblow as those who had, dispensed with what they had to meet the needs of those who lacked. Their church was not project or structures or piety centred, but man-oriented. It is not that these (structures and piety) are not good and necessary. But they should not be at the expense of love and care or material wellbeing of people, as many do today – organising programmes and engaging in projects with little or no consideration of how these effect or impact on the people, both their members and environments. The needs and welfare of the people should be paramount and in fact, should be projects of their own.
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.