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August 10, 2020

“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth or action.” 1 John 3:17-18

On this day in the year 258, Lawrence, deacon in Rome, was martyred for his faith. Lawrence was charged with maintaining the church’s finances and distributing alms to the poor. When commanded by the emperor to make an accounting of the church’s treasures, he presented a collection of orphans, lepers, and other poor people. Lawrence said, “Behold in these poor persons the treasures which I promised to show you; to which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the Church’s crown.” Enraged by this response, the emperor had Lawrence put to death.

Lawrence had a deep understanding of the church’s work in this world, and his words and deeds are a witness to us today. May we see in those that the world views as the “least of these” a great treasure, those who are beloved and redeemed by God in Christ.

This morning we awoke to reports of rioting, looting, and violence in Chicago. I do not yet know enough to have a “take” on this. I know that coordinated smash-and-grab looting is not the solution to society’s problems. I also know that simply keeping the peace is too often code for maintaining an unjust status quo. Today, I pray for Chicago and its people. I pray for police officers who are doing difficult jobs today, and I pray for leadership that will seek broad solutions for tomorrow, solutions that will bring us closer to true equity and equality.

I hope and pray that we will be inspired by Lawrence to see treasure where it really is, and that we will live our lives in service of one another, seeking peace and justice for all people in equal measure.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of the poor, you call your church to treasure that which is most important: your Kingdom and its people, even and especially those upon whom the world looks down. Bless your people today, Lord, with the peace that is truly peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Lawrence before Valerianus, detail from a fresco, Fra Angelico, c. 1447-1450 (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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