ADVENT #1

MY ADVENT SERIES WILL BE BASED UPON THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURE AND POEM. I WILL POST ADVENT #1 BELOW.

Sheep and Goats
Matthew 25:31-46

Matthew 25:31-46 — New Revised Standard Version

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
# # #
The Chapter titles for this scripture are
either non-existent,
or they show the editor’s biases.
“The King Will Judge All People.”
“The Judgment.”
“Judgment of the Nations.”
“The Son of Man Will Judge All People.”
“The Final Judgment.”
“The Sheep and the Goats.”
The one I am most familiar with is,
The Judgment of the Nations.
Any way we consider it,
we are going to get judged,
and the implication
is that it will be a very harsh judgment.
Well,
I do not actually think that there is,
or can ever be,
any judgment at all —
by God, anyway.
If God demands
that we care for helpless and hopeless people,
how much more is God to care for us?
Still there is a judgment,
of sorts.
Not of nations,
or goats,
but in the lives
we create as a result of our actions,
or,
a better way to say it is,
our quality of life
is determined by the choices we make.
I just read a short piece on
Fred Rogers of
Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
You must remember the tune,
“It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”?
He would suggest to his “television neighbors,”
that when they were frightened,
or when bad things happened,
to look for the “helpers,”
the caring people of the world.
But Fred Rogers was not just for little kiddos.
Just as the parable is about
teaching people
how to become good followers of Jesus,
Mr. Rogers was about
teaching children how to be good adults.
Are you a helper,
one of the caring people?”
This is what seems to be the meaning of the parable:
if we are going to be followers of Jesus,
we are to be helpers.
To me they are both the same.
It seems that a beautiful day
in the neighborhood
is also a beautiful day
on the path that follows Jesus.

#########

HOPE, “BEING HOPE TO YOUR WORLD,”

Psalm 69:6The Message (MSG)
Don’t let those who look to you in hope
Be discouraged by what happens to me,
Dear Lord! GOD of the armies!
Don’t let those out looking for you
Come to a dead end by following me—
Please, dear God of Israel!

Being Hope to The World:
It doesn’t seem to matter what
you do for a living,
what church you belong to,
what your political affiliation is,
who you know or what you think of yourself.
What seems to matter
what seems to really count,
is that we find a way be Hope for the least of the least.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one
of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.”
The word “least,” here,
becomes a category meaning
not just me,
not just them,
not just you,
but all of us.
We are the least of us all,
we,
in this context,
are Jesus.
We are the most needy who will show us the way.
We are the most wounded,
the craziest, most lost, the poorest,
the really scary,
the meanest bullies.
These are us?
These?
WOW!!!
This first week of Advent is about Hope.
How do we receive Hope?
How do we give Hope?
How do we be Hope?
How do we make Hope happen
in a world that desperately needs Hope
all the while doing everything in its power
to subvert any chance of it?
First,
Hope
is our spiritual birthright.
Hope
is our inheritance.
Hope
is how things are, not how they appear.
I think it begins with an invitation we can offer.
Come.
Listen.
Sit.
Breathe.
Hope.
Stop thinking hopeless.
Stop participating in conversations
that pander to hopelessness,
Start working for Hope.
Start speaking for Hope.
Vote for Hope.
Sing for Hope.
Dance for Hope.
Breathe for Hope.
Pray for Hope.
Believe
in the reality of Hope.
Really be
Hope for all.

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