Matthew 25 teaches us that Jesus is still here in the world, that Jesus is found among the poor and hungry, among the sick and imprisoned, among those whom the world considers to be “the least." As a Church we need to hear the stories of “the least," because in doing so, we hear the story of Jesus.
The more we reflect upon these stories, the more we realize that they are indeed Jesus' story, a story filled with pain, suffering, and death, and yet a story of hope and ultimate victory. The stories of tremendous suffering convict us of our complicity in injustice, of our numbness and lack of compassion, and of our need to once again hear the story of Christ.
The stories of joy, hope and transformation remind us that even the worst of pain and suffering cannot overcome the hope and victory of God through Christ. Just as he did 2,000 years ago, Jesus invites us to participate in the hearing and telling of stories, stories that tell about pain and suffering, stories that tell about joy and hope, stories that ultimately tell about Jesus.
One of the programs at my church ministered to and with people who have suffered incredibly from AIDS and the ostracism and violence that often accompanies the disease.
I learned of a 5-year-old who had been orphaned by his mother, then father, then aunt, and finally grandmother, all of whom died of AIDS. He had cared for them, hauling water back and forth and scrounging for food during their last days.
The Educare teacher from Phakamisa (the name of the ministry at the church) went to look for him when he didn't show up at her class, and found him digging furiously at his grandmother's grave. When asked what he was doing, he replied, “My granny has to get up now. Who will take care of me?"
All I could think was, “What would it mean if Christ's Church were bold enough to answer his question?"
-Chris Furr D'05
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