12 Nov Sermon Snap Shot November 11, 2018
So what we read in Leviticus 19 is just one of a number of Hebrew scriptures that basically say the same thing: the people of God take care of their neighbors. And why?
Because the people of God know what it means to be outsiders.
The people of God know what it means to be exiled.
The people of God know what it means to be homeless.
The people of God know what it means to have no power or status.
And when you and your people have dealt with those hardships and those challenges over the years, you are forever sensitized to them. Thus, you commit your life to assisting folks who, for whatever reason, need a helping hand.
We spent the afternoon yesterday in Charleston giving my daughter’s friend from California a tour of the city. As we made our way around the Battery looking out toward Fort Sumter (and with these Scriptures in mind), I was reminded of my great-great-grandfather who, family legend has it, arrived in Charleston from Ireland as an immigrant in the 1840s. Our family’s oral history tells that he worked as a laborer on both the Battery and Fort Sumter before moving inland to Edgefield County where he started a fertilizer business.
When I think about these words from Leviticus and others like them throughout the Bible, I have no doubt that my ancestor was able to survive in his new country because the people of God looked out for him. Surely, they helped him find housing…they helped him find clothing…they helped him find work. Simply put, they did for my great-great grandfather what the people of God have always done, since Biblical times. And because we all know how it feels to be outsiders the recipients of help and hospitality as aliens or outsiders, we pay it forward when we are in a position to do so. It’s just what we do.
From Sunday November 11 message from Leviticus 19:33-34 and Luke 16:19-31 entitled, “Living Generously with Our Neighbors”
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC