First let me start with Thanksgiving! Thank you for voting this past Sunday to make me your permanent installed pastor, removing the “designated term” from my call to serve alongside you! In a season when there is so much uncertainty around COVID and church re-gathering, we have stepped out in faith to say, “We know God has a future for us, and that future is together, for many years to come!”
Part of that future is living into the vision of ourselves as a Matthew 25 congregation. For the past three weeks, in both our Sunday School and in sermons, we have been reflecting on the parables Jesus told in chapter 25 of Matthew’s gospel.
There were two segments of my sermon from Sunday where we lost audio for about 30 seconds. Here are excerpts from those important moments:
We are a congregation of perhaps 40 households. And it is safe to say that at least 30 of our households have significant financial resources beyond the average household in this country. Last year, in 2019, the median household income in the United States was $68,703. Even at that level, if forty households in our congregation gave just 2% of their household income to the PCLT Mission budget each year for Matthew 25 causes, that would be almost $55,000 available to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and care for the sick.
If we are going to be Matthew 25 people, we will engage in all of the important tasks of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and caring for the sick and visiting those in prison, because that’s what it means to be followers of Jesus. If we are going to be a Matthew 25 congregation, we will engage in these same activities on a community level, striving to overcome structures that keep some people hungry while others stuff themselves with turkey and sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, because that’s what it means to be a Christian community dedicated to following Jesus. And if we want to be a Matthew 25 nation, judged to be righteous and welcomed into the joy of Christ’s embrace, we have to hold our nation accountable for dismantling structures of racism that persist and fill our prisons and hospitals and detention centers with those who most need protection and care and support. And if we want to be a Matthew 25 nation, we have to hold our nation accountable for eradicating systems of economics that keep hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in our nation living in poverty.
As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this year, in the midst of pandemic restrictions, let us be thankful for the ways in which God is calling us to be Matthew 25 people together.