January 1 Lectionary Reflection – OGHS 2017
January 1, 2017
Text: Matthew 25: 31-46
“This is Personal. As you gave food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty; as you welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked; as you took care of the sick and visited the prisoner – or not – you have done it (or not) to me.” – Jesus
In the aftermath of World War II, President Truman responded by promoting the interdenominational program of “One Great Hour.” This was his radio address, delivered from the White House at 10:55 p.m., on March 26, 1949. Some of it was aspirational rather than reality. Much of it could have been delivered today. The urgency remains now more than ever.
Sixty-eight years later, OGHS, continues with eight participating denominations. You, as part of One Great Hour of Sharing Offering (United Church of Christ) on March 26, 2017-or any time -change lives.
Transcript of President Truman’s “One Great Hour” Radio Address
As a country, we have long understood that to help the suffering is to serve God. Through our communities and our governments as well as through our charities we have sought to carry out this Divine command to aid the hungry, the needy, and the sick.
Today, however, the words of the parable of the Last Judgment have fresh meaning for us. They make clear our duty toward those millions of people in other countries who have suffered and still suffer the miseries of war, destruction, and tyranny.
There are thousands of children in foreign lands today who have no memory of their parents, no knowledge of the meaning of the words “home” and “family,” and who have forgotten what it feels like to have enough to eat. There are hopeless thousands who wander among the shattered towns seeking a place to rest, seeking security and a chance to begin their lives anew. There are many who pray to God only in secret, fearing persecution if they profess their beliefs openly.
It is hard for us to comprehend grief and distress such as this, because we in America are so much more fortunate. Our country has been blessed with material riches. Our homes are secure. We can go to our churches and worship God as we desire and most important of all, we know that our rights and our dignity as individuals are guaranteed to us under the Constitution.
We know that we enjoy these great blessings not because of any special merit on our part, but because of the bounty of God. It is to His Providence that we owe the richness of our country and our heritage of freedom. Since these good things come to us from Him, we know that we must use them for the good of others in accordance with His will.
Many of those in need and distress throughout the world share these beliefs and ideals with us. To them we should offer not only our aid in physical things, but also the sense of brotherhood in a common cause.
We cannot do this through the channels of government alone. We must also extend the hand of fellowship through our private organizations and as individuals. In this way, we can join with those of kindred faith and destroy the barriers of distrust and propaganda that divide us from our fellowmen.
To the millions in the world who cry in their despair for a new day of freedom and justice, we here in America, out of our strength and by our example, can give hope and comfort.
I urge you to go to worship tomorrow, each in his accustomed place, to thank God for our heritage and our strength, and to ask Him for the grace and power to carry out His will in this troubled world.