MANY OF US learned about social boundaries in our high school cafeterias. We sat at tables depending upon what sport we played, or if we played at all. We sat at other tables if we were deemed popular or unpopular. Sometimes we sat at a table because of our race or the language we spoke at home. If we were studious, we chose one area; if we had more or less money, we sat in another. … Teenage social boundaries are difficult to cross.
Adult social boundaries are not much easier to negotiate. Now we wonder how to reach out to the woman downstairs who doesn’t speak English. Driving onto the ramp of the interstate, we see a man with a sign asking for food and work. We can’t imagine how to cross our social boundaries to include him in our lives. A man and his partner visit the church today. Will we be the first to cross a social boundary to welcome them?
James urges his hearers to honor the poor in accordance with God’s plan. We invite poor and other oppressed people to our tables and ask to sit at theirs. As in high school, we find it tempting to stay in the comfort zones of our neighborhoods, our biases, and our past experiences. If we can cross our social boundaries and care for those who have been dishonored by our world and even by our churches, we will fulfill God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves.
– Elaine Eberhart,
From the reading for September 5, 2015 by Elaine Eberhart, in The Upper Room Disciplines 2015: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2014 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
What are the boundaries you see that faith can cross? Share your thoughts.
Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.
James 5:14, NRSV
This Week: pray for caregivers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
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This week we remember: Leoba (September 28).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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