Friday, November 18, 2011

Preach a Little One: Last Pentecost A

Preached at the Lower School Faculty Eucharist, St. Andrew's Episcopal School

Matthew 25:31-46

The end times are upon us.

No, really.  This time, the end is actually near.  We are almost at the end of a liturgical year.  We are almost at the end of a calendar year.  We are almost at the end of a semester.  Advent and exams are in the air.

My tenth grade world history final exam had one question on it, and one question only.  Aliens have just landed.  Tell them the history of the world.  I stared at a blank sheet of paper for who knows how long, not knowing how to begin.  An hour and at least two sheets of paper later, full of names and dates and places and ideas, I had no idea how to end.

The end times are upon us.  Really.  At least, that is how it has seemed these past several Sundays as parable after parable has ended in outer darkness, where there sits a guest without a wedding robe, ten bridesmaids with no oil for their lamps, and a servant with a hidden talent.  Be ready, Jesus has warned us over and over again, for you do not know the hour or the day.

This Sunday, the last in the long season after Pentecost, the end is here.  The Son of Man in all his glory sits upon the judgment seat with all the nations gathered before him, and on the final exam there is one question, and one question only.  What did you do for the last of those who are members of God's family?

Did we feed the hungry?  Clothe the naked?  Visit the sick?  Take care of others?  Were we good neighbors?  Yes, sometimes., sometimes.  Sometimes we are generous, selfless, and brave.  And sometimes we are self-absorbed, full of excuses, and fearful.  Sometimes we are sheep.  Sometimes we are goats.

The end times are upon us.

Not really.  The time that is upon us is now, this moment in time, and the next, and the next, and then the one after that, each now a new beginning, a new opportunity to do for God what God loves best - doing for others.  The exam has begun, but we have quite literally all the time in the world to finish, and even then the one who sits upon the throne is the one who will leave the ninety-nine to find a single strayed sheep.  Or goat.  Or guest.  Or bridesmaid.  Or servant.  Or me.  Or you.  For sometimes we are the least of those who are members of God's family...

The beginning times are upon us.  The question is before us, and the answer is within us.  What will we do at this moment, and the next, and the next, for God by doing if for another?  Amen.

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