-Rev Melissa Fain-
Looking up, Jesus saw rich people throwing their gifts into the collection box for the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow throw in two small copper coins worth a penny. 3 He said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than them all. 4 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had to live on.”
Luke 21:1-4 CEB
That King Herod was a great guy, wasn't he? Oh, he wasn't? Are you sure? If I remember my history, he was the one who rebuilt the temple after the Babylonians destroyed it so many years before.. Doesn't that put him in the good category?
One of the key points of our faith is the journey. Change is only meaningful if there is a path we take to get there. However, we live in an impatient culture, a culture that does not honor hard work. Immediate gratification, and those who can obtain it, are societal celebrations.
(Here's where I upset a nice large group of people. To be clear, I understand I've upset several for the last few months. I'm pretty sure this is where I'm going to upset those who haven't been upset yet.)
When we give our journey to government, we've failed. Of course there are exceptions, but please play this out with me.
Herod failed because he was an all around terrible guy. He was all about himself, to the point that he named his own children (male and female) after himself. The Israelite people failed because they gave the sacred duty of rebuilding the temple over to the Roman Government instead of doing it themselves. Herod was allowed to look like a hero while tainting the sacred space of God's home. Rome now had a foot hold in something that didn't belong to them. The symbol for their government was at the entrance to God's home.
I know the frustration. If a group of people are not going to help the least of these willingly. It's far too easy to then find the next steps to force them to help. It completely destroys the journey to get straight to the outcome.
I'm far more radical than I often let on. I believe Church, and other religious and social organizations, are the best givers of social assistance. (When they are actually doing such things.) These groups know the needs of their community, and can meet them faster than any government program.
Now- would I suggest we cut all social government programs tomorrow and give it to the community? No. We're lazy. We've given the temple to Herod, and now there's a red white and blue flag waving in front of our missions. We have to step up, and step out. In other words, we need to take back our purpose towards service to the world, and get out of our sanctuaries, and into the world to do it. Like I said at the beginning. That's a journey. That's a relationship. God is not theirs.
Pray with me:
Dear God, help us take back our service to you. Amen.