Thought for the Day: A number of years ago, I preached a sermon on this text, and a few days later I received a letter in the mail. This letter was seeking to take issue with my sermon, specifically my choice of Bible passages. This individual was wondering why I kept preaching on passages that focused on Jesus caring for and involving those who had been excluded. Why didn’t I preach more sermons on immoral behavior like teenage sex. Now that’s a challenge, especially since the Bible was written at a time when females specifically (and many males) were being wed in their early teen years. But my response was actually part of the problem as it started a whole back and forth on teenagers having sex, when was the proper age for marriage, etc. Whether it was intentional or not, the question provided the letter writer a respite from being confronted by Jesus and his call to the least among us, the disenfranchised, marginalized and the lost. Did Jesus talk about a few other concerns? Absolutely, but when you look at his life and ministry, the reason for his arrest and execution, you come face-to-face with a message that asks: Are you loving the ones that society has forgotten? Are you giving this work more than lip service? Are you joining them in a meal and defending their valued presence at the table? Remember, Jesus did all those things to make sure we knew our beloved value in the eyes of God. Now it is our task to do the same for others.
Prayer: Easily distracted! Our attention so often is diverted from what is really important. Holy God, keep us attentive to the Gospel, to the unrelenting and unconditional love of Jesus that is poured into us with a purpose. Let us continue to find new ways of using the power of love to bring more and more people around the table. Amen.
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