by James Greene
The title of today’s sermon is Compassionate
God. The common theme of the four readings
is the compassion
of God. They demonstrate to us one of the qualities of God’s character: that of Compassion. It reveals God’s tender heart not only for the Chosen People of
Compassion - broken down is com (with) pati (to suffer). It means to suffer with.
It is a quality of life we live with everyone.
Jay Litvin - summation
Compassion is in strong feeling, with enthusiasm and being fully present with someone no matter the circumstances of their life. It suspends judgment and takes each circumstance equally; it encompasses all. It has no preconceptions, no attitudes, no special face or tone of voice. It is not bound by rules of behavior, decorum, or expectations. Compassion does not turn away. It comes from the position, in which, all things are from God’s Hand, and has full acceptance of each circumstance in life. Compassion is not constrained by rules, but recognizing the uniqueness of each instant and each person. Compassion is prepared to yield to whatever happens next, always with the other in mind. Compassion is God’s greeting with kindness and grace, to be a companion in whatever circumstance.
The qualities of Compassion are Divine and it is because, it is our reflection of The One, in whose image, we are created. Compassion is God’s hidden presence only noticeable, if you have the eyes to see each person as Child of God.
In I Kings, we see Elijah
who has been sent (by God) to
the widowed woman in Zarephath (a small town between
In Psalm 146, we see a God of action, and a God who cares. Who calls us to action: to not put trust in princes, or mortal men, because when they die, all of their work and plans come to nothing. It calls us to remember that blessed are they whose help is God, whose hope is in God, and who’s God is faithful. It is The Lord who watches over the alien, just as Elijah was an alien in the middle of Phonecia. The Lord sustains the fatherless and the widow, reflects His compassion for the alien just as he did with Elijah’s caring for the widow who lost her son.
As people of God, in our spirit, we praise God, we thank God, we trust in God, and we hope in God who watches over all people: even the alien, the widow, and the orphan.
In Galatians we see how Paul, in his conversion experience, understood God’s heart for not only the Jews (his people) but also for the gentiles who God also has compassion on as a part of His creation. Just as Elijah experienced the widow’s compassion and kindness, when he was sent to the Phonecian gentiles. It was for the glory of God.
In the reading from Luke, we see a mirror image of the miracle in I Kings, where Jesus
raises a dead son for a widow in the small town of
We, as the people of God, are called to live into the Word. We are called to reflect the tender heart of God like Jesus, and Elijah. We are called not to turn away, but to action. Just as Christ suffered for our salvation, we are called to compassion,
to suffer with. We are called into relationship, to be part of God’s hand to those suffering around us. We are to reflect the character of The One, in whose image, we are created. We are called to reflect the Compassionate character of God in our lives, through our lives, and to do it all, to the glory of God….
In the Name of … the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen