The Least of These

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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?

*From The Reluctant Orthodox Volume 19 “The Least of These” 

5 thoughts on “The Least of These

  1. Marilyn, this is a beautiful quote, may I use it? I serve the least of these 365/24; here in Nairobi, Kenya. My service is to the least of these children, whom I presently serve: nearly 75 boys, ages 5 through 18. These ARE the vulnerable, marginalized, often abused and neglected whom an angel of God, has sent to give them hope and a future. I am an Italian-American, Coptic Orthodox Sister; who has listen to the call of God to serve these beautiful children…..
    I always like to receive your very poignant articles which touch the heart and soul…
    God bless you


      1. Marilyn, I also had difficulty but just now from FB I came straight to the page. This is good. I’ve been associating with a challenged woman in her 70’s and admit that I am often in a state of compassion or pure aggravation. In the end I am reminded that she is one of “the least of these” and is the object of God’s unwavering love.


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