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Lent for Everyone: Week 5, Thursday (120329)

Lent For Everyone Reading Plan

This is Thursday of the fifth week of Lent. The reading is Matthew 25:31-46, the division of the sheep and the goats. (If you want to listen, scroll to the bottom of that page for the audio links.)

Wright says “We would miss the point entirely if we were to read it as a list of ‘rules to be obeyed’. To be sure, if you are starting out on the path of Christian discipleship, then these are guidelines that demand close attention. But Jesus doesn’t envisage us keeping a list of these actions and carefully ticking them off as we do them. He wants us to be the sort of people who do these things, as we say, ‘naturally’ — though actually it will be a kind of ‘second nature’ — without stopping to think about them.”

“This, of course, demands effort, particularly in the early stages. But it’s an effort which springs, and has always sprung right through the course of Christian history, from people knowing Jesus, worshiping him, hearing his word and feasting at his table. Though of course people of many traditions and beliefs are kind to outcasts, visit prisoners, feed the hungry, and so on, it is noticeable, especially in our increasingly selfish society, that those who sign up for these activities on a regular basis, and who do similar things automatically even when ‘off duty’, are people who day by day say their prayers and week by week worship the God we know in Jesus.”

I have long considered this to be one of the most compelling of Jesus’ teaching: when we care for others, we care for him. Others have felt that way as well. Here’s a story by Tolstoy: Where love is, there God is also

A relatively modern song on the subject: The Sheep and the Goats

And the original music poem by Keith Green: The Sheep and the Goats