This is an Advent devotional I wrote for Orange UMC’s Advent season e-devotionals. The devotional is based upon Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Jesus’ words in this passage from Matthew assure us of a future judgment.
None of us likes to think about this idea much. We regularly proclaim in the Apostles’ Creed that, “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” We regularly read parables that include judgment scenes at the end. Yet, we often choose to ignore or not wrestle with this truth.
In our culture judgment almost always negative connotations. But have you ever thought about why judgment may be necessary and good?
It is good because it assures us that there is something beyond death – the possibility of eternal life with God.
It is good because it assures us that Christ will one day judge and handle all of the injustices caused by sin that we see in this world.
It is good because upon the cross Christ received the judgment for all of the times we’ve ignored the hungry, thirsty, homeless, cold, sick, and imprisoned.
It is good because the scriptures assure us that if we have faith that is made active in love then we will pass through judgment and live in community forever with our heavenly Father.
Question: How is your faith being made active in love towards the hungry on Hwy 15-501, the homeless on Franklin Street, those whose houses are without heat, and those who will not be let out of their cells to see any family members this Christmas day?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask for your forgiveness for all of the times we’ve ignored the least of these in society. Give us faith infused with boldness so that we may be your hands and feet of active love in the world. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.