Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Without Cost, Give

By Beth DeCristofaro

Burst, mosaic by Plamen Petrov
Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the farther they went from me, sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. … My heart is overwhelmed; my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not a man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you. (Hosea 11:1-2, 8-9)

Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost, you are to give. (Matthew 10:7-8)

“For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.”  Elie Wiesel

Jesus’ words in Matthew echo His first proclamation in the temple that He fulfills the words of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) He passed on to his followers specific actions inspired by the Spirit of the Lord.  God tasked the Chosen People and now Jesus tasks his friends.  To carry on in accord with God’s tasks means they are fulfilling and continuing the covenant in a new way.  God has gifted each of them, each of us, and we are to share Gods presence with others.

This week I also think of Elie Wiesel as I read these beautiful words.  In the New Testament, we hear a new command.  In Hosea, we hear God’s loving and forgiving mercy upon people who did not follow His tasks but whom He still loves desperately.  Wiesel survived a time of hate-in-action which, I am sure, brought God and the heavenly host to tears.  Wiesel dedicated his life to growing beyond the hate and finding meaning in his – and human – existence.  He proclaimed liberty, fought against oppression and tried to bring sight to the blindness which allowed such hate to be expressed by the Nazis.  He is famously quoted as saying “I believe in man in spite of men” which I am also certain made God smile and nod in understanding.  Wiesel became a man of peace, courage filled and aware of God’s presence in spite of hatred and evil.  He gave without counting the cost for the rest of his life.

In his acceptance speech for the Nobel peace prize, Wiesel said: “We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.” 

In what way am I sharing without counting the cost?  In what way am I offering to someone who needs desperately?  Take some dedicated time today in silence to experience gratitude in God’s loving embrace of you.  Share it forward as you go.

No comments: