Monday, November 19, 2007

Loving Outcasts

God has been speaking to me this week - dramatically - about loving the "least" among us ... the sick, the wounded, the needy, the outcasts. On the very same day my Bible reading included these convicting verses:

From Prov. 31 (4b, 5, 8-9): it is not for kings to drink wine,or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. ...Open your mouth for the mute,for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously,defend the rights of the poor and needy.
James 1:27: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

As if that weren't enough, I came across this extended commentary at the end of How the Irish Shaped Civilization. After explaining the fall of Rome as it relates to Celtic Christianity, and the influx of barbarians that affected both societies, Thomas Cahill explains:

Rome's demise instructs us in what inevitably happens when impoverished and rapidly expanding populations, whose ways and values are only dimly understood, press up against a rich and ordered society. More than a billion people in our world today survive on less than $370 a year, while Americans, who constitute five percent of the world's population, purchase fifty percent of its cocaine....
What will be lost, and what saved, of our civilization probably lies beyond our powers to decide. No human group has ever figured out how to design its future. That future may be germinating today not in a boardroom in London or an office in Washington or a bank in Tokyo, but in some antic outpost or other - a kindly British orphanage in the grim foothills of Peru, a house for the dying in a back street of Calcutta run by a fiercely single-minded Albanian nun, an easygoing French medical team at the starving edge of the Sahel, a mission to Somalia by Irish social workers who remember their own Great Hunger, a nursery program to assist convict-mothers at a New York prison - in some unheralded corner where a great-hearted human being is committed to loving outcasts in an extraordinary way.(Cahill, p. 217, emphasis mine)
Loving outcasts in an extraordinary way. Wow, what a calling - what a testimony. I know you are all out there, doing the thing daily. It's not just theoretical to you. I know that your emphasis is on the example of Christ, as it should be - but just look at what Cahill says. The very thing you are doing might be the future of our civilization. It has been so before.

Love extraordinarily today - and pray for me to do the same!
Blog note: I will be on Thanksgiving break for 3 days. I hope to resume posting on Friday. Have a great week and if the Lord brings us to mind, please pray for our safe travel - bad weather is forecast for Thursday, and we'll be returning home very late (after our normal bedtime).

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