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WEEKLY REFLECTIONS

~ God Bless America and All Other Nations Too ~

When we received an invitation to attend a church picnic, we were delighted. In the worship service, my father recited a poem about a woman who was intent on providing a gracious dinner to an expected Guest, our Lord the Christ. In her preparations, she overlooked the needs of three people who asked for her help in their hunger and poverty. She explained to them, "I can't help you now because I am preparing a special meal for Christ Himself. Someone else will indeed come to your aid." Consequently, Christ was not a welcomed Guest, and He told her so.

This following story is an explanation of Christ's response: A poor woman woke up to find a mysterious note on her kitchen table. It read: "I would very much like to visit you for a meal. Love, Jesus." Astounded and seized with a sense of obligation, she gathered all her cash, about twelve dollars, and immediately went out to buy what she could. She left the market with a little bit of sliced meat, a loaf of bread, a quart of milk and two bananas.
 
She encountered a homeless couple on her walk back home. They politely explained their hunger and situation and asked if she had perhaps fifty cents to help them a bit. She had only a few cents left over from her purchase so she could have told them quite honestly she didn't have even fifty cents to give. However, the woman handed over her meager groceries to the couple, feeling their need and heart. They thanked her and God with sincerity.
 
She was troubled, wondering what she would do now. Yet, a peace settled over her as she thought of Jesus' understanding and His heart for the poor. "Perhaps He would be satisfied with a cup of tea and crackers," she thought. "That's all I have left at home. I know Jesus will understand."
 
She found another note on her kitchen table. This one read, "Thank you so much for the great meal! It was just what I needed. I am so happy to have visited you on your way home. Love, Jesus."


Two homeless men living in shelters were also part of the church gathering. One was particularly animated and excited about what he was reading in Isaiah: "'The multitude of your sacrifices -- what are they to me?' says the Lord, 'I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing me meaningless offerings!...When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow'" (Isaiah 1:11-13, 15-17).

We discussed this passage a bit, all the while he was hitting me with his enthusiastic hands, excited about what this passage meant to him. I then brought the discussion to the here and now and wrote him this email to be delivered by his pastor:

<Dear Brother Nathan,
 
Thank you for expounding on Isaiah's teachings and prophetic declarations in the Name of our God at the church gathering. I learned from your animation, enthusiasm, and love of God's revelations to us. You are inspiring in your zeal to learn and share. I will always remember those twenty minutes or so and will keep you and your longings and your brothers in prayer.
 
Having a CDL is indeed a blessing. Local and long distance truck drivers are needed and it is spiritual work, though most people won't think of it as that. Truck drivers are the ones who supply us with food, clothing, furniture, mail, and everything else people need. I admire and give thanks for the workers on trash trucks. They work so hard and get little respect. Yet, should they strike and refuse to work, they paralyze entire cities. Only then do people realize what noble and important service they provide all of us. Truck drivers are more important public servants than some social workers and judges. So go for it! As a truck driver you will be among the most vital public servants, and I know you will do that work as a servant of Christ to which you aspire.
 
Let me end with a blessing to you from 1 Thessalonians 5:23: "May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it."
 
I am grateful to have met you. Let us keep one another in prayer.
>

Did not Jesus choose the most marginalized and rough, uneducated people upon which to establish His Church?  Nathan and others like him are among those He chose. Let 's pray for Nathan and those so many like him. They have so much to teach us. Jesus explained how the kingdom of heaven is open to those who are the least among us. What will it take to aspire to be like them?

We know, but we are afraid of the mandate of Christ. "If you do not hate [forsake] all [you value] including your family for my sake, you cannot enter the kingdom." Does that mean we must embrace the despised ones in our prisons, those forgotten in our nursing homes, those thousands of people killed in the US occupation of Iraq for every one of our about 1000 soldiers who died there? Yes. And if you say no, take your argument to our Lord and listen to what He says. And be prepared for his His surprising answer, since Christ is not a fan of any sports team (despite the prayers of many for their home team to win), nor is He a Democrat, Libertarian or even a Republican. Christ is our Master, the Supreme Being. Let us pray that He blesses America, as we in the US do, and that He also blesses Israel, the Middle Eastern nations, the South Americans, China and even North Korea. Let us pray He blesses the despised prisoners of our nation and free those unjustly convicted, and the many in other nations in prison for their Christian stance. God bless America and all other nations, for the entire world needs His blessings and none of us is more entitled to that than others. Christ's sacrifice was for all of us.

 

John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
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