Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,
who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
Matthew 18:12 — What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
It wasn’t enough that we’re living through a global pandemic, businesses shut, more than 100,000 people dead? It wasn’t enough that we have to search the stores for toilet paper and can’t even hug the grandkids? It wasn’t enough?
So, last week police in Minneapolis cold-bloodedly murdered a prisoner, a black man, and now we have riots all over our country, and even overseas.
Because it was one time too often. And people are fed up. But, just to add a special sauce, the news reports tell us that mixed in with the protestors are people who’ve just shown up to make things worse. Some reports say those folks have come from the far left, others say from the far right…. whatever, wherever, we see stores burning, churches burning, police driving their cars into the crowds…. it’s chaos, and it’s so very wrong.
So, where are we? How do we react to this? What does it mean in our world?
Psalm 113 tells us that when there’s a choice, God chooses the poor. When there’s a choice, God chooses the needy. And in the gospels, Jesus tells us that to the great shepherd cares more about the one sheep that is lost than the ninety-nine who are ok.
Those who do not have (whatever) are more important to God than those who are ok. That means that God cares more about the homeless living in the woods behind the Church of the Nazarene than for those of us with homes and paid-up mortgages. And it means that God cares more for those who are afraid that if they’re stopped by a police officer they will be killed, than God cares for those of us who are simply embarrassed.
So, if we are to follow God, we too care more for those who have not than for those who have a lot. We feed the hungry, we clothe the naked, and when someone is ignored, or put down, or attacked, we stand with them. When our police do the right thing, we thank them. When they do not, we help them see the right way. Because our God teaches us that when we all feel safe, our community is stronger, safer, more prosperous.
May we have the vision to see, and the heart to care, and the strength to action in these chaotic days.