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November 27, 2017

Had a conversation with a couple of food servers not so long ago and what they said really disappointed me. They said that the servers hate to get the Sunday afternoon shift. The reason they hate it is that the church crowd is rude and they’re the worst tippers.

Let that sink in for a moment.

These are the people who profess openly to be Christian, who are taught to love one another and treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself. To treat others as you would treat Jesus Christ himself. Hmmmm.

So, with that still rolling about in my head, I heard the Bible passages at church last Sunday.

First reading is from the Old Testament, Ezekiel 34:15-22. “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the inured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.”

Ouch. I don’t know about you, but it makes me decide to be a little nicer.

The Gospel reading was from Matthew 25:34-46. “’Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’”

Now, if you’re thinking of other people as you read that, stop. This is not told to us to judge others, but to gauge our own actions. And I know that not only do I need to be nicer, but it wouldn’t hurt me a bit to skip a few meals and help those who are really hungry. And it wouldn’t hurt my family to have a few less toys or electronic devices or make up or whatever for some to have food on their table or shoes on their feet.

It’s the holiday season and we need to reflect on what we are doing right and what we can do better. Because all of us can do better.

See you on the bricks!