The Least of These.

Today, when I dropped Molly off at school, a boy with down-syndrome tentatively crossed the street. Loaded with an overstuffed backpack, he grinned and ran full speed to his classroom after successfully crossing what must have seemed an unimaginably broad expanse of highway (two lanes, one each way).

Every child using a crosswalk depends on adults to be careful, but for this child with down-syndrome, the trust required is even greater, because crossing the sidewalk for him is a greater challenge.

Jesus concern for the “least among us” began the minute the Word become flesh. His birth was announced first to shepherds, a disenfranchised minority, and in his public ministry he regularly attended to people on the margins.

This is not because they are better than the rest of us; even the poor can mistreat the poor ( “A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food” Proverbs 28:3 NKJV). God trusts us to be more attentive to the least among us not because of who they are, but because of who he wants us to be.

American culture promotes self-sufficiency and Christmas is a season when even our generosity is extended to people we love who usually already reap the benefits of the land of plenty. In this season more than any other, followers of Jesus should be countercultural in our attention to the least of these who dwell among us.

I am thankful for the boy with down-syndrome with his sweet tentativeness, trusting glance and carefree trot once safe; he reminded me to summons the better angels of my nature, likely the same kind of angels that appeared to shepherds, bringing good news to the least among us and calling on you and me to follow in the caring tradition of Jesus.

Remember Matthew 25. “”Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king 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.’ ”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in November 29, 2004 by | No Comments »

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