Matthew 9:36 says that Jesus had compassion
for the crowd that followed him,
“for they were harassed and helpless, like
sheep without a shepherd.”
I am always impressed with the number of laypersons who come from various churches in Austin to dedicate themselves to the weekly Saturday worship service and lunch with the homeless in East Austin. This ministry is impressive because the laypersons spend time
establishing relationships with the worshipers. Clearly, the homeless come to the worship because they find healing from the compassion shown by the volunteers. During the service, the volunteer laypersons come forward to pray for the stated needs of the homeless worshipers. And in doing so, they are showing the compassion that Jesus had in Matthew 9:36. The church most fully realizes the presence of Christ when it manifests compassion to the helpless and hurting. It is this very same compassion for the hurting and helpless that led God to become incarnate on Earth.
God of boundless grace, pour out your compassion for the helpless and hurting by sending persons who embody your care for them. Amen.
The Rev. Paul Barton, PhD
Associate Professor in the History of American
Christianity and Missiology
Director of Hispanic Church Studies
Seminary of the Southwest