19 When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. 20 When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. 22 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this. -Deuteronomy 24:19-22
Lately, most of my “meetings” have been taking place electronically — phone calls, conference calls, Zoom video conferences, strings of emails. It was in one of those emails — an email amongst our church Trustees — that the questions were raised, questions like: How can we help some of our church members who might be stuck at home — especially our senior members? Perhaps some might need help with grocery shopping trips, so they don’t have to go out and potentially expose themselves to the virus. How can we help them? How can we protect those who are most vulnerable?
I think it’s an incredible idea, one that our Trustees hope to make a reality. (If you’re interested in helping out in this way, please let me know!) Protecting and caring for the most vulnerable: this has been the work of God’s people since the earliest days of the church. In fact, this has been the work of God’s people since long before the early church.
That’s what we find in today’s scripture reading from the book of Deuteronomy. Over and over in this passage, we hear the same refrain: it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. In ancient Israel, these were the ones who were most vulnerable. Here, God is speaking to farmers and growers, reminding them: Do not hoard your whole harvest. Remember, there are vulnerable people in your midst. Leave some of your harvest for those who are most vulnerable.
Really, that’s what this entire effort of “social distancing” is all about. When I stay home, I’m not just protecting myself. I’m protecting those with whom I might come in contact, those who might be even more vulnerable to this virus. I’m protecting relatives who are in their eighties and friends who have asthma. In this moment, it’s a societal, communal pact: stay home and make sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable in our midst.
So stay in, as much as you’re able. When you do have to venture out, make a point to do it in a way that helps someone who may be more vulnerable than you.
As you stay home, meditate on this truth:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
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