I have been hit, literally struck, lately by appeals to view certain segments of our population as most vulnerable.
The appeals I’ve most noted in recent days have been made from the pulpit.
When I was hungry, you fed me.
And yet it does not take a trained ear to be able to hear these appeals echoing not only in our own land, but around the world.
In fact, the more I listen to these appeals, the more I see how the appeals themselves are bringing our churches, our nation, and the world to a kind of a standstill.
When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink.
To me, the honor of the term, most vulnerable, should be carefully preserved and applied only to those who have suffered to that degree that is beyond normal expression. Children who are being sold into sexual slavery, for instance.
Children who are starving to death in this world of opulence and self-gratification.
Children who are being blown apart by bombs asserting one man’s political opinion over another’s.
Conditions, let’s be brutally honest, that we don’t encounter in our lives.
If we did, we wouldn’t be treating each other in the fashion that we are growing increasingly willing to do.
When I was a stranger, you welcomed me into your life.
Instead, I am urged to take the teachings of Jesus about how to treat the most vulnerable and apply it to homosexuals who want to get married. And to women who want to kill their own creations, and to have free access to birth control.
These, according to a lot of churches these days, are the people in our lives who deserve our compassion, our understanding, our pity.
And it’s not just the liberalized churches that have brought the war over these issues inside their walls. The Roman Catholic Church has a population that is split on supporting President Obama, with his anti-Christ positions on abortion, birth control, and same-sex marriage, and his Christ-like position on caring for the weak in our country.
Were the Republican presidential candidate a dog who liked to chase his own tail, he would not only be down to a nub for a tail, he would be lucky that he still had a rump to gnaw on. Anyone caring to acknowledge what this man really stands for would have to realize that concerning these polarizing social issues, he’s not that much different than the current president.
When I was naked, you wrapped a warm cloak around my shoulders and held me until I stopped shivering.
And yet the world doesn’t stop to take a breath, scratch it’s head, and see that what is happening is that the tyrant of nonmarital sexuality has taken the reins of not only this country, but others around the world, and is demanding so much attention that those who truly do deserve our compassion no longer are even seen by us.
Much less cared for.
Where are all the sermons about the truly needy, the truly hungry, the truly victimized?
When I was sick, you gave me medicine and eased my pain.
But the message of compassion and understanding that is being pounded into our heads, our hearts, and our souls every time we turn around can be boiled down to: GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT!
Give me what I want.
Why I should I suffer from not getting my way?
Perhaps in a national conversation, this is an acceptable assertion. Loggers, after all, want access to trees. Oilmen want the freedom to drill holes. Mothers want their neighborhoods free of sexual predators.
It is the work of the government to consider and possibly address these wants.
When I was imprisoned, you paid my bail, picked me up from the jailhouse, and drove me home.
But to stand up in front of the cross of Jesus, the blessed cross that is infused with his most precious blood, the blood that cleanses and heals us, and to cry out,
GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT! THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SUFFER!
is nothing less than an obscenity.
No longer are the Holy Spirit’s swords of virtue of any value in everyday life.
No longer are saints and martyrs offered up as role models.
No longer is obedience seen as a strength to be cultivated.
And no longer is the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ a gift that is offered to us not only as a means of our own salvation, but also as a way of bringing this gift to others.