Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”
The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
Matthew 25:34-40 (CEV)
God of all wholeness and peace, our world yearns for your presence. We call out to you day after day, wondering why we do not see you and why we feel so abandoned. And yet, time and time again, you remind us that we only need to look around us to find you. Help us to look with clarity and compassion into the faces of your children, no matter how unimportant they might seem, so that we might find you there.
Help us to see you in the faces of those who mourn. As news breaks of the deaths of seven children and many others suffering from a virus outbreak at a health center in New Jersey, United States, remind us of the deep pain of those around the world who have experienced the loss of a child. Open our ears to listen and open our arms to comfort.
Help us to see you in the faces of those who suffer. As we hear about inhumane conditions in the prisons of Madagascar and the forced “re-education” of Uighur Muslims in China, fill us with a thirst for justice for all people who are abused due to poverty, gender identity, and all other vulnerabilities.
Help us to see you in the faces of those who are being affected by disasters. As a major hurricane makes landfall in Mexico keep survivors of all disasters, both natural and human-made, safe from harm, and help us to keep them in our hearts.
Help us to see you in the faces of those we consider our enemies. As the President of the United States threatens to withdraw aid from countries that allow refugees and asylum seekers to travel across their borders toward the United States, remind us of the humanity of all people, regardless of their skin color, language, and country of origin. Remind us that everyone, from the most powerful leader of a nation to the most vulnerable and impoverished of refugees, is a beloved child of God.
Help us to see you in the faces of all people, for we are all made in the image of God. Remind us of our connection to all of your children as members of your universal family. Fill us with your love and compassion, so that we might act as your hands, feet, and voices in the world. Make your presence known and felt in all places, so that your kingdom might grow to the ends of the earth.