Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

A Diaconal People of God (Matthew 25:35–40)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Week 6: Freed to Serve—Diakonia 

Week 6, Day 3

“A prayer for the Christian life,” ca. 1912, commonly attributed to St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


A Diaconal People of God (Matthew 25:35–40)

Ildikó Berei Siska, Lutheran, Hungary

[F]or I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 

I saw them—mother and child, hungry, cold, naked, persecuted. In their eyes, I recognized fear and uncertainty. They were scared by sudden movements or the occasional loud voice. While the media tells us a lot about people in need, the first personal encounter is still shocking and may become a life-changing experience. Even now, eight years later, I can still recall the children’s and the mother’s names, their inappropriate clothing, the words with which they described how they suddenly had to flee to an unknown city. Even today I clearly recognize that their greatest and only asset was the opportunity to stay together.

It must be gruelling to accept such a situation and it is crucial that those of us who are standing on the “other side” open our doors wide and accept our responsibility. Their first encounter in this broken existence is with us, those who will tend to them. We give the hungry something to eat and the thirsty something to drink. But tending to someone is not only about physical care.

For a child, who has regularly seen its mother being abused by its father, it is not clear that God takes care of you, just as a loving father would, and that God is with you, even in such a situation. In addition to physical assistance, mental and spiritual care will vary in each case. The coat is not much use if the mother is still freezing inside. Food is useless if a child cannot consume enough love. No one should feel cold, neither in the physical nor the emotional sense. No one should fee unloved. These children and parents are hungry for love, thirsty for loving words and cold because of the rough world from which they have had to flee.

As Christians, our most valuable contribution is to show real love to those who hunger for it, to show God who leads our paths to the thirsty; to clothe them with the promise that God, the Father of Hope, will never forget us . This promise will provide “clothing” that no child will ever grow out of, that no weather will ever destroy but which will provide a firm basis for the rest of their lives.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”