“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 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: 31-40
Much of what we do as Christians may be inspired by Matthew chapter 25. Our church’s Soup Kitchen and Bag Lunch Ministry may find their roots there. Our Saturday Nite Live Program may be an answer to Christ’s command in this passage. And visiting those who are lonely and alone may be a response to what we read in God’s word in Matthew chapter 25.
For some, the holiday season is a lonely time. People may be separated from family by distance or circumstance. The hustle and bustle all around only amplifies the sting of solitude in which some people live. We may want to reach out with Christ’s love to those who might tend to be lonely at this time of the year.
In the Worshipbook (jointly published in the early 1970’s by The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The PCUS, and The United Presbyterian Church), we find this prayer “For the Lonely.” The words to this prayer might be more appropriately prayed this holiday season.
God of comfort, companion of the lonely, be with those who by neglect or willful separation are left alone. Fill empty places with present love, and long times of solitude with lively thoughts of you. Encourage us to visit lonely men and women, so they may be cheered by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who walked among us as a friend, and is our Lord forever. Amen.