September 1, 2020
Matthew 25 Initiative

by Rev. Erin Noh
“For 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 --Matthew 25:35-40
The PCUSA’s Matthew 25 Initiative is our call to actively engage in the world around us and to boldly and compassionately serve people who are hungry, oppressed, marginalized, imprisoned, and/or poor. Therefore, we engaged in discussions in our virtual Sunday school for the summer months of June through August. In June, discussion topics included LGBTQ inclusion, serving refugees, and interfaith friendship. During the month of July, the pastoral staff led a book discussion of Carolyn Helsel’s Anxious to Talk about It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about Racism. In August, there was a series of discussions that addressed racial injustice in the criminal justice system, the legacy of racism in Southern U.S. Presbyterianism, and homelessness in relation to systemic poverty. Despite the feelings expressed and emotions experienced, the topics were thought-provoking, and the dialogues were necessary for Christian maturity. We experienced some “growing pains,” but minds and spirits were transformed. Just as good parents are pleased when their child develops new skills, God, our Heavenly Father, is also pleased as we grow and spiritually mature.

Our faith community is one of generosity, and that generosity is extended to the world. The light of Christ must shine in our words and deeds, regardless of race, color, national origin, or gender. Even though we may not agree on some issues, we can agree that when we help the least of these—the hungry, the oppressed, the marginalized, the imprisoned, and the poor—we do so for Christ. We are called to discipleship as Christians, individually, and as a faith community, collectively. Therefore, I pray and have faith that the Matthew 25 Initiative continues to enrich our sacred perspective, enhance our spiritual insight, and motivate each of us into positive action. As followers of Jesus, we respond to the greatest needs of our time with love and hope, knowing that caring for those in need is evidence of a faith that changes lives.

I am grateful to those who attended class every Sunday. I appreciate the Spiritual Growth committee members who devoted their time in moderating classes and recording the Zoom sessions. And I am thankful to all guest speakers who enlighten our minds and spirits.
Gracious God, Thank you for the love and grace you freely give us. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear where Your Spirit is working. Give us hearts filled with compassion to shine the light of Christ in our communities and in the world. Amen. 
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com