Today's eMo is really two different meditations on texts that will be read in many churches this Sunday. The first is the usual sermon preparation eMo, and the second, intended for preachers who wish to focus their congregations' attention on the poor and those who suffer, features the work of Episcopal Relief and Development. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.
For I have come, not to call not the righteous, but sinners.
So odd -- Jesus consistently shocks his orthodox hearers by reversing the categories of their expectations, taking apart everything they thought they knew -- what power is, what wealth is, what happiness is, what family is, what holiness is, what life is -- and handing it back to them, put together again, but upside down. And what do we, who follow him, do? We take what he gives us and put it back together again, the old way. Right side up. We like it better that way.
So he associated publicly with sinners, but we shouldn't.
He embraced poverty, but will following him will help us to be really rich and successful.
He did not live in the traditional family of his day, but we must.
He knew that it's what we do and say that pollutes us. We're pretty sure that it's what other people do and say, and so we avoid them altogether. Figure it's best not to even be in the same church with them.
We say we follow him, wear WWJD bracelets on our arms: What would Jesus do? Hmmmn -- why do we want to know? So we can do turn it upside down and do that instead?
Psalm 50 or 50:7-15
And here's the ERD meditation:
A Realistic Hope
But when he heard this, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick."
The people are poor and the life is hard -- you already knew that about Honduras. But did you know that Honduras is the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in Central America? It accounts for more than half of all AIDS cases there, with only 17% of the region's population.
Still, Honduras' rate of infection has not yet reached the devastating levels we see in Africa. And Honduras is small - a little more than six million people. That means that it is early enough in the Honduran epidemic to make a real difference, to forestall the full bloom of horror for the tiny nation and its people. With our help, the Great Physician can come before everyone is sick, and many lives can be saved.
Episcopal Relief and Development partners with the Episcopal organization Siempre Unidos -- "Always United" -- which offers a variety of very realistic services to affected families and individuals, working creatively within the limitations imposed by poverty and isolation. There are now WHO guidelines for treating patients in impoverished countries with the successful but costly anti-retroviral drugs that have made such a difference in the lives of North American patients, turning a sentence of speedy death into something approaching a chronic but manageable condition. ERD and Siempre provide visits from United States doctors experienced with the drugs two or three times a year for case management, so important in consistent retroviral therapy. These visits are supplemented by ongoing care from Honduran doctors and health workers, supported by regular teleconferencing with the North American team.
We are so rich and they are so poor. We can get medicine they can't. But that is changing, and we are within sight of reversing the trend of HIV/AIDS infection in one small Central American country. Through ERD we are "always united" in Christ with people in need whom we will never meet, united in the Christ whose energy goes naturally toward those in need.
To learn more about ERD, or to make a donation, visit http://www.er-d.org/, or call 1-800-334-7626, ext 5129.