Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 6
Monday in First Week of Lent
“As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”
Did you hear the dismissal yesterday? If you were in a service in the church, it was “Let us go forth in the name of Christ!” But “go forth” to do what? The dismissal in the service in Ascension Chapel is more explicit: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!” Thus yesterday’s devotional unpacked that the Eucharist was both a reminder of God offering up his life for us in Christ’s body and blood, and our response to offer our lives to God, to love and serve him. Today’s readings unpack what love and service looks like. It’s all about holy living—“be holy, for I, YHWH, am holy”. But notice that this holiness looks like righteous and just actions—no oppression, injustice, or hate—towards fellow Israelites. Jesus dives deeper—food and drink, friendship and clothing, healing and compassion for fellow Christians, his “brethren”. But why is God more focused on how we treat other Christians than non-Christians? Simple: because why would non-Christians want to become Christians if Christians hate each other? If non-Christians were to become Christian, they would presumably feel less loved by fellow Christians, than if they were to remain non-Christian! Thus God is concerned that Christians treat each other the way he treats us because this is what convinces the World that the Church can be their home, too. The World needs a new home. Thus, if you want to love and serve God, begin by loving and serving other Christians, especially those in need; because this shows the World that God is truly among us.
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully increase in us thy gifts of holy discipline, in almsgiving, prayer, and fasting; that our lives may be directed to the fulfilling of thy most gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.