The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, November 23, 2022, comes to us from D. Gerow Baker of Oklahoma.
1 I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. 2 I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. 3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. 4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. 5 I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
THE FORGOTTEN BIKE
As I hurried by, I saw that the bike was still there – small, pink, and white, probably once a girl’s greatest treasure. Now it sat unsecured and forgotten, strangely out of place in the heart of a busy college campus. The forgotten bike reminds me the there’s lots of work to be done to help those who are forgotten in this world: the people without homes, tucked away in hidden corners of our communities, those who are homebound and longing for company, those who are sick, incarcerated, widowed, or orphaned all come to mind.
Many times Jesus recognized people that others had largely dismissed: the women caught in adultery (see John 8:1-11), the man with an unclean spirit living among the tombs (see Mark 5:1-20), tax collectors (see Luke 19:1-10), and the man with leprosy (see Mark 1:40-45). God calls each of us to do what we can to help those in our communities who need a kind word, a thoughtful note, a meal, or a prayer. We all can do something that says we haven’t forgotten. It can make all the difference in the world.
One of my many memorable experiences from seminary, was a class that focused on community ministry in different settings. Our class visited with a new church plant in a Hispanic community, and a revitalized downtown church. Yet, the experience I remember most, was our visit to Dignity Diner. Dignity Diner focused on feeding the hungry, homeless, and marginalized.
Unlike other feeding programs I’d volunteered with, Dignity Diner focused on getting to know the stories of the people. After the staff finished serving, they were expected to sit and have conversations with two to three persons to get to know their story. As the visiting staff, we were expected to do sit and have conversations with clients too. Jesus intentionally engaged with the marginalized, the dismissed, and the ostracized. It’s easy to look past, ignore, and stereotype those on the margins. Yet, when we recognize that those on the margins are people with sacred worth, created by the same God who formed us, it moves us to purposefully connect. As we gather around tables with family and friends for Thanksgiving, I encourage you to find an opportunity to serve the less fortunate.
God of all, help us to ease the suffering of those who feel forgotten. In Jesus’ name. Amen
-- D. Gerow Baker
Someone my community has forgotten.
Thought for the day:
Small efforts offered with compassion can make a big difference.