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Speaking to the Soul: Prepare to Be Surprised

Speaking to the Soul: Prepare to Be Surprised

Week of Proper 10, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 38 (morning) // 119:25-48 (evening)

Joshua 3:1-13

Romans 11:25-36

Matthew 25:31-46

At my ten-year high school reunion, a boy who had sat behind me in physics class approached me. Most of what I remembered about him was that he always had the latest games on his graphing calculator. By our reunion, he was a rather handsome doctor. He truly surprised me by saying thankfully, “You know, you were the only girl who ever talked to me.”

Now, don’t get me wrong: Conversation with my high school self was hardly a social prize. Also, I certainly wasn’t kind to everyone. But I have to admit that one of the greatest feelings of my life was knowing that someone remembered me kindly, and that I’d treated someone in a way that they valued even though I didn’t know it at the time.

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that a whole crowd of people will get to experience this feeling at the culmination of their lives. Jesus will stun them all by inviting them into the kingdom and informing them that, even though they didn’t realize it, they’d been kind to him: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” In disbelief, these people will protest that they never fed, clothed, or visited Jesus. But he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

The good news today is that Jesus welcomes into the kingdom all who serve the least in this world, whether they recognize Jesus or not. I hope that we all get to discover days or years later, or at the end of our lives, that our kindness touched someone else, perhaps to our great surprise. Whatever we believe today, perhaps one day we’ll discover that, whether we knew it or not, we were Christians after all.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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