One Great Hour of Sharing Message for Sunday March 15, 2020
The Lenten season this year comes at a time when worldwide climate change and threats of flu contagion have affected and disrupted many people throughout the world. More recently, at home, we all find our lives in confusion and turmoil with the mandatory closings, threat of Covid-19 and shutdown of services. With God’s help our stressful time is short lived. For many in the world there is no end in sight. These stressful times, which we are feeling, offer us a very real, personal context for what One Great Hour of Sharing is all about.
In Isaiah 58, the prophet addresses the Hebrews who have returned to Jerusalem, where the Temple— God’s house—was in shambles. It had to be a heartbreaking scene. With all that rubble, the prophet challenges the people, not to rebuild the building or to restore their religious rituals, but to care for the hungry, the weak and the vulnerable—the prophet called the people to become the house of God.
The people in our church— are the house of God. We are called to become, as Isaiah promised long ago, “repairers of the breach, restorers of streets to live in.
Through One Great Hour of Sharing, a special offering of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we extend shelter to those who have no place to stay, offer compassion to those who have pain—be it physical, emotional or spiritual—and we set a feast, with God, for those who lack access to enough food to eat. When wind and water wipe homes away, or bombs destroy the dwellings of the innocent, or people lack safe and affordable housing, One Great Hour of Sharing extends a roof. It helps those disrupted by conflict and war or when the environment endangers the land of farmers. One Great Hour of Sharing welcomes them to the table. When water becomes scarce, or when it must be accessed by walking long and dangerous distances, or when the pipes or sources become poisoned, One Great Hour of Sharing rushes in as a spring of life-giving water.