Trusting that God provides.
Hospitality is born of a grateful theology of abundance. A gracious sharing with others (where just societies flower) comes from a thankful response to God. "I love the Lord because he has heard my voice," sings the psalmist, and "what shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me" (Psalm 116:1, 12).
Remembering that the justified are the unjust who have become just, we wonder: When many of us have so much while others have so extraordinarily little, how will we begin to let go? Along with finding the gratitude of the psalmist, we need the faith exemplified in this letter of Paul's. We see what God has done that we might trust what God will do.
God imparts astonishing gifts in these four passages. A baby is delivered through the aged Sarah and Abraham. Vast bounty and loosened bonds are conferred upon the psalmist. Love is poured into Paul's heart. Were Jesus' astounding teaching, proclamation, and cures not enough, the apostles are empowered to do healing themselves.
What does trust in action look like? Abraham and Sarah receive their divine visitors at midday and respond with expansive hospitality (even before that divinity is recognized). This hospitality includes water for their feet, rest under the tree, bread, milk, and more. Paul's realization of being justified by faith in God's goodness allows him to boast in his sufferings, trusting that it will lead to endurance, faith, and hope (Romans 5:3-4).
In 2005, millions of God's children desperately wait upon our capacity to trust God, that we might do a little letting go. Economist Jeffrey Sachs, who now leads the Millennium Development Goals program at the United Nations--whose mission is to cut extreme poverty (which Sachs terms the "silent tsunami") in half in 15 years--repeatedly advocates this small letting go: If each person in the rich nations gave $2 a year for bed nets in malaria-stricken nations, the lives of 1 million children would be saved each year.
Simple as that. The unjust being made just often is, but it means trading our dependency on greed and violence for a theology of true abundance.
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|Title Annotation:||JUNE 12; Helping people in need|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2005|
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