Hey World, here’s a quick note: you actually have the best hearts and the greatest capacity for love. You do!! I know you need to hear that now and again because the internet and conspiracy theories have us questioning everything we know to be true. But here’s the deal: the world is not going to hell in a handbasket. At the (small, I hope) risk of offending anyone, I use one of my mom’s favorite old sayings here to point out that if all we look for is the bad news of the day, that’s usually what we’ll find. And when all we see is bad news, it’s a quick trip down into hopelessness and despair, thinking the fiery flames are lapping at our feet ready to consume us.
This week alone we have seen our Chapel community engaged in some good great news stories. There are some seriously great hearts out there.
Just last week 20 gift bags were delivered to the homeless encampment at the Safe Outdoor Space at the intercept lot, complete with socks, handwarmers, grocery cards, toiletries and yummy snacks that you and other faith communities in Aspen helped provide. One of our parishioners organized the Rotary Club to deliver hot meals every Friday night to the intercept lot in February and March. Several of our parishioners have gotten together as part of the Outreach Committee and donated some $30,000 to organizations who help the most vulnerable among us, including abused women and children, hurting families, the mentally ill, and those hit hardest by the pandemic. We were also able to help a child with disabilities get a new wheelchair last week, paid emergency medical bills and helped with emergency lodging for people in need.
Many of these stories go unnoticed because, well, because they don’t sell newspapers or make social media headlines. If we want to see great news, we’re gonna have to switch news channels.
The New Testament teaches – in fact, more than 30 percent of NT scriptures proclaim – that as followers of Jesus we need to be oriented to the poor. In other words, concerned with, leaning into, turned toward the poor. I don’t know about you but those words are very intimate; Christians are called to be in relationship with people who are poor. There’s a reason we call each other brothers and sisters in Christ! But truly, we are ALL poor. Yes, some monetarily and more unmistakably than others, but every one of us has, at times, been in need. We live in the world which means we won’t always escape the great need of it; at some point we will all find ourselves pulling the covers back up over our heads and saying, I. Just. Can’t. And then Jesus shows up, and he looks an awful lot like the guy bringing a hot meal, the friend loaning you her car, the neighbor shoveling your driveway, or the church helping to pay your medical bill.
Jesus said the poor will always be with you (Matt. 26:11). That’s because they are our brothers and sisters. They’re family! And like any brothers and sisters, we might stay out of touch for long periods of time but when push comes to shove, we SHOW UP.