Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is - Or, Think of What Aid We Could Have Rendered With the $40 Million We've Wasted On T.V. Commericals

HEBREWS 13.1-2 Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

PSALM 46.1-7 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present* help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city;
* it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.*Selah

The clich├ęs are all spent.

Even hyperbole can’t touch the full scope of what’s going on.

We have refugees in America – by the tens of thousands. In Memphis, we currently have 10,000 displaced folks. Thousands more are expected.

Unlike most disasters when we are called to go render aid – this time, we are called to open our lives to receive the stranger. And as we are called to give ourselves to them, to take them in, we think we’re doing a “good” thing.

No, we’re doing what we’re commanded to do. We’re doing what “people of the Way” automatically do, without thinking, without processing it – without considering what’s in it for us. We do it. It's actualizing the Acts 2-4 church. Everything from sharing with all who have need from the resources of our own lives.

My spiritual forebear, John Wesley, was often derided for the very thing that distinguished his “method” from the carefully contrived theological head trips of his Oxford fellows – that theology without action means nothing. The Letter of James says, "faith without works is dead." JW was on to something, I think.

His was called “practical divinity,” not because it’s supposed to make sense, but because it’s supposed to match acts of devotion, piety and worship with acts of compassion, mercy and justice. To have the former without the latter, is to commit spiritual fraud.

Well, for this time in our lives, maybe not to be matched in quite this way ever again, here it is, big as life, right in front of us. And whether you live close to the Gulf Coast, or a world away, doing nothing is not an option.

In ways we never thought we could or would, let’s actually live into that slogan we’ve wasted $40 million on to say how “open” we are.

Be it.

Do it.

Now.

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