“You shall cry for help, and God will say, “Here I am.”
Reflection by The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church
Throughout this Lenten season, we have reflected on the words of Isaiah 58, and you may have noticed that at points it sounds a lot like the parable of the sheep and the goats at the end of Matthew 25: “For I was hungry, and you gave me food…I was naked and you gave me clothing.” Jesus talked a lot about these things, and Jesus lived his life doing such things.
Oh, we do rejoice this Easter day; we gather together in celebration, virtually or in person; we boldly proclaim to all the world, “The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!” But let us remember: before Jesus rose from the grave, before he ascended to heaven, “For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven.”
He came down. An English Christmas carol says it this way, “Love came down at Christmas.” Love came down. God’s amazing love in the person of Jesus of Nazareth came down and stood with us. Stood with all kinds of folk who were struggling, and sad, and suffering. And he rolled up his sleeves, reached out his hands, and with compassion that cannot be fully measured said, “Here I am.” This was Emmanuel, “God with us.”
To follow Jesus, then, means more than singing “Alleluia.” To follow Jesus is to dare to live as he lived and do what he did, to roll up our sleeves, and reach out our hands, and with compassion that is heartfelt say to all those who cry for help today, “Here I am.”
Just like Jesus.
It is all too easy to forget that we are blessed that we might be a blessing to others. We are empowered by the Spirit so that we might empower others around us: the hungry and the homeless, the refugee and the immigrant, the helpless and the hopeless. They shall cry for help, and God—through us, through you and me, through our words and our actions—will say again, “Here I am.”
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