Week Two – What have we achieved?

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.” Matthew 25. 37b- 40


I came across this stunning sculpture in the garden of the Basilica of St Paul’s outside the Walls in Rome just after I had written this year’s Lent Course. The scar in the outstretched hand of this prisoner poignantly expressing the words of Jesus in our passage from Matthew.

Who can fail to feel compassion for the hands trapped behind metal bars? One firmly grasping the bar alerting us to the strength of the prison in which they are constrained. The other stretching out into freedom, compelling us to reach out, to take hold and share the physical touch of our shared humanity. Challenging us to accept that we are all made in the image of God whatever situation our past action has led us into.

The hungry need feeding, the thirsty need water, the naked need clothing, the sick and the imprisoned need visiting regardless of how they came to be in that condition. The call to help such people is such an innate part of our lives that we tend to act instinctively and brush off any praise with standard responses such as ‘anyone would do the same.’ During the season of Lent, it is worth spending some time remembering and reflecting on the people we have encountered in the past.

We often don’t label what we have done to help those in need as ministry. Let alone call ourselves angels ministering to those who are feeling isolated in the wilderness, that we considered last week. But it is worth thinking back over our lives to see just where we have been able to bring food to the hungry, a drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, healing to the sick, comfort to the imprisoned. Where we have served Jesus by our practical compassion for others. Mother’s Union may have a reputation for Tea and Cakes and chatting but never underestimate the healing power of our seemingly unsophisticated hospitality. Food, drinks, companionship, the gift of personal attention have a large part to play in the healing process for many.

With all my love and prayers for a continuing fruitful and blessed Lent,

Revd Sandra

Prayer: Eternal Trinity, thank you for all that your guiding presence has taught us about mutual love and community. Help us to remember, with thanks, those whose lives have become entwined with ours, drawing us closer and closer to your perfect example of how to live together in harmony. Amen