Devotion provided by Rev. Dr. Martin Eldred of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon, VA.
“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 25:40b (NRSV)
November 11 marks two remembrances from two different calendars. By the civil or secular calendar, it is Veterans’ Day. Originally set aside to remember the sacrifice of those who had fought in “the war to end all wars”, it has since come to be a day to honor all veterans.
On the liturgical calendar, this day is also the feast day of Martin of Tours (CE 316-397). Martin was a catechumenate in the Christian faith put was forced by his non-Christian father to join the Roman army when he was just 15. The story or legend most associated with Martin tells of a time when he encountered a beggar who was lying alongside the road. The man was dressed in rags and very cold. Having nothing with him except for his uniform, Martin got down from his horse and cut his uniform robe in half, giving it to the man. Although mocked by his fellow soldiers, Martin believed that his actions lived out Jesus’ commands to love all people.
Conflict is a tragic part of our existence and the brokenness of our human nature often blinds us from seeing Christ in our neighbor. Called to be peacemakers, we can still honor the men and women who serve and have served honorably to protect us. We can pray for the end of wars as well as for the well-being of those who risk their lives to keep others safe. We can also pray to open our hearts and minds to see one another as Jesus sees us – as beloved children of God.
Points to Ponder:
- How might seeing Jesus in those with whom we disagree change the way we interact with them, either in person or through social media?
- How might we be more attentive to seeing Jesus in those we normally overlook in society?
God of all-welcoming grace, open our hearts to hear your words of peace today. Open our eyes to see your image in all our siblings. Open our minds to consider new ways of thinking beyond winners and losers, beyond conflict and conquest. Open our hands to share what we have with those who don’t. Open our doors to welcome all your children that all may be nourished in the banquet of your love. Amen.