“We will not patronize, exclude, or ignore the gifts of any person, male or female, gay or straight, young or old. We declare solidarity with the poor, and with all who are suffering, oppressed, or excluded.”
This was an affirmation prayer that was part of a recent church service.
I, along with so many others, were in tears at the end of this powerful time in which we talked about the story of the Good Samaritan. I wanted to share some thoughts with you today (inspired by the words and service organized by Tim Browning).
God’s purposes are divine and God’s plan is merciful. Jesus came to comfort those who are hurting, marginalized, oppressed. He set aside the law in favor of people.
I pray that I, that we all, have a heart for those who have been beaten, condemned, judged, left behind, mistreated – by strangers and by those they love – for whatever reason – sexual orientation, gender identity, the way they dress, they way they talk, or simply for who they are.
May we pray and have a heart for those who have been left alone.
I search, often vainly, for reasons for this kind of suffering and sometimes all I can do is lean on God who is my hope – and love and care for people as Jesus commanded.
I also know that God has instructed us to pray for those who abuse us, and to seek mercy for those who wrong us. So very difficult to do.
People have walked away from our suffering, or the suffering of those who we love. People have abandoned us in our time of need.
I want to pray for those people. I want to forgive them.
I also realize the many terrible times that I have walked away from the suffering of others. The times I have placed, and will place my own needs above the needs of the hurting and the pleas for mercy from the suffering.
God forgive me.
I am also so very thankful for those who truly did walk in the footsteps of Jesus, who truly did act in God’s name – those who came alongside me, and others hurting to relieve our suffering.
People who wear out their lives in the service of others.
We also thank God with wonder, awe and humility for the times that we have been the ones who have lifted up another.
This is what I want my life to be about, this is what I want my joy to be – to lift up all those who suffer
…until my knees buckle and my arms fail.