In worship this morning, the scripture reading was from Matthew 25.
You know it. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
Those to whom the parable is directed (you and me?) say to Jesus “When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison?” In response Jesus said, “Just as you did to one of the least of these you did it to me.” Or, “Just as you did not do it to one of the least of these you did not do it to me.”
I don’t know how many times I have heard or read that passage, but today I suddenly heard it differently. Every other time I heard it or read it or reflected on it, my vantage point had been that of the helper. The one caring for the least of these. I could drop off food at the food pantry. I could help repair or build a house. I cleaned out my closet and took the clothes I no longer needed or used to the thrift store. I volunteered at the homeless shelter. I visited those who were sick or in prison. But this morning was different. For a split second I was one of the least of these and those who were hungry and thirsty and sick and in need were the ones who were challenged by Jesus. To care for me. To teach me. To nurture me. To release me. To heal me.
Today that feels like a more honest reading of the Gospel.
Can I believe it?
Can I believe it enough to live it?