Saturday, October 3, 2009

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Jesus is crystal clear about his principles for personal outreach - for the mercy, compassion and service we are to extend on his behalf:

Today’s buzz word is social justice, but simply put, it’s care for your neighbor, on the cul-de-sac or the neighboring continent. I’ve taken Biblical standards for loving your neighbor from the Old and New Testaments and woven them into a prayer:

Dear God, I take note of a most compelling question that comes just four chapters into Genesis - not a command or a law - but a question:

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

It’s Cain’s feeble attempt to duck responsibility for his brother, but intuitively, we know the answer is “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.” Brand our hearts, Lord, with your words from Zechariah:

Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.  
Zechariah 7:9-10

Father, we can be pretty “choosey” when it comes to the aliens and poor people we might be inclined to assist. I pray that we show greater mercy and compassion…as the 82nd Psalm directs:

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy… Psalm 82:3-4

Lord Christ, you have given us a clear, concise command in:

Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39

Let our love be transformed from sentiment into action - into deeds, good works, service - as James so eloquently set the standard:

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:17-18

All this we humbly pray in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.