Andrew's Sermon Notes - Sept 2012

“Reveal to us the face of Christ in the world and help us to respond with your spirit of generosity”  (Rekindle card)

The words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 are among the most challenging and the most characteristic of his ministry.

Challenging because they get to the heart of radical discipleship, a discipleship that is not satisfied with words, but with actions in solidarity with the poor and needy – even more challenging because Jesus tells us that in responding to those in need, we are not being virtuous (the moral of doing unto others as you have them do to you), so much as finding the face of Christ in the needy and desperate.  The story told by Jesus of a King who tells his people that in helping the poor they are helping him (a subversion of the usual dignity of the King)  – and we can read this, in the light of the other parables in this part of the gospel clearly to indicate that Jesus means himself when speaking of the King. Hugely challenging and I’m sure you can think of numberless examples of the poor, homeless and desperate of all conditions who can be for us the face of Christ. (for a good example see Michael Taylor’s story in Donald Hinton, Liturgy of Life, p. 161)
Not just his words though, this is also characteristic of Jesus who spends his ministry identifying with the poor (in meals, in healing, in his chosen lifestyle as someone with nowhere to lay his head). 

Where does leave us?  Well, hopefully changed, converted into seeing our priority for the poor in our communities and across our world as not just a good thing to do but essential for our discipleship and faith.  For, indeed we want to see Jesus.

As Fred Pratt Green’s hymn (H&P804, Singing the Faith 415) ends:
“We have no mission but to serve
in full obedience to our Lord:
to care for all without reserve
and spread his liberating word.”

Sermon Notes
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