As I walk out my front door, I smell Autumn. The chill morning air is accompanied by a bright sky bringing a promise of a glorious day. How is it that seasons have their own smells?
It doesn’t take long before I begin to see the least of these. The least of these are on street corners, or huddled into city doorways, blankets wrapped tightly around them to ward off the cold. Cambridge and Boston are not unique; every place has the least of these, but some places hide them better than others.
Our news is full of the least of these. Refugees, the homeless, the marginalized, the unborn, those who are victims of human trafficking — all those with no voice are the least of these. And the truth is – it’s often easier to ignore them, to call the “least of these” a problem rather than to try to figure out what to do.
Maybe the most important thing is to make sure we never lose sight of the least of these. Maybe it’s not about doing, as much as praying. The biggest message we have heard from refugees and displaced people in Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon is “Don’t forget about us. Remember us. Pray for us. Tell our stories.”
Maybe it’s all in these words:
“When we draw near to those who are most sinned against our call is not first to ‘make a difference’ but to allow the pain of that encounter to disturb us.”
“Why are those who are named ‘oppressed,’ ‘poor’ and ‘the least of these’ so prominent throughout Scripture? Perhaps to show us that God draws very near to the most vulnerable not because they’re any less sinful, but because they are the most sinned against. They are the ones most likely to be lamenting. By telling the truth about brokenness, we too learn to lament. When we draw near to those who are most sinned against, our call is not first to ‘make a difference’ but to allow the pain of that encounter to disturb us.”
All of us bear the image and stamp of our Creator God. ‘The least of these are image-bearers and what I do for them I do for God.
Will it take a lifetime for me to really get it? That whatever I do for the least of these I do for God?*
Who are the least of these in your world? How do you remember them?