Irrationally caring

Last Sunday night, saw our very first HX Impact Youth service at 235 take place. The building was overflowing with youth and their supporters from the various congregations in our Presbytery singing songs of praise and worship with gusto, laughing, making joyful noise and generally having fun. Friendships were forged, and commitments made to cooperate and work together as youth groups within the Presbytery of Port Philip West. The speaker on the night was Pastor Gregg Morris, a Church of Christ minister. Gregg carries out an interesting ministry in Ascot Vale to people in the commission houses and those with mental illness. He is also a competent youth worker and an associate in a company delivering cultural competency training for government and corporate clients. Gregg spoke on irrationally caring for others and used the story in Mark 5:25-34 of the woman who had been suffering hemorrhages for twelve years, to illustrate this. Jesus’s approach to the woman was irrational, in that, it broke Jewish social and cultural customs. For instance, she is a woman, and she is bleeding. As far as the Levitical laws go in regards the latter, she is unclean an untouchable, a person any law-abiding Jew is to refrain from having any contact with, let alone speak to. So, she is marginalised and a total outsider and Jesus taking the time out of his schedule to stop and speak with her and listen to her story would be perceived as being irrational in the eyes of those looking on. To cut a long story short, Gregg challenged all on Sunday night to irrationally care for others, and specifically, to irrationally care for young people. Now, hold this thought in the back of your mind as I say a few words about, waiting.

The gospel reading for today is from Matthew 25:1-13 and traditionally lends itself to the theme of waiting for the ‘Parousia’, which would best be defined as Jesus second coming to complete finally and fully his purposes on earth. So, how should we, that is, the church, wait?

I remember family members of ours, faithful followers of Jesus, several years ago told us how they were stocking up on food, water and other essentials as they waited because they felt the end times were upon them. Other well-meaning Christians, consider waiting as separating themselves from the world to live in community of only the ‘faithful’ so that when Jesus does return he will return to an ‘unblemished’ church.

Whatever your take is on the matter, I would like to think that when the ‘Parousia’ does take place, rather than finding followers separating themselves from the world and focusing in on needless forecasting the messiahs return and endless end times paranoia, instead, Jesus would find his church feeding the hungry, delivering justice for the oppressed, advocating for the poor and marginalised, clothing the naked and tending to the ill and diseased.

At a time when individualism and materialism and the fervour of misguided nationalism are taking hold of many people’s lives, it could be argued that irrationally caring for others is a cultural contradiction and much needed in our world in the present time.

My challenge this week for you, my friends, is to see who might you irrationally care for. This might be people or a person whom you had never given any thought of before, say, a refugee and asylum seeker, a person of another faith, a young person, an old person, a person with AIDs, a homeless person, a single parent, an alcoholic, are just some examples. The list can go on and I’m certain you will only be limited by how far you dare to allow your imagination to take you. Whatever you decide, remember that irrationally caring for others, is how Jesus lived his life. May we do likewise.

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