A Place For All To Worship

Day 4 | Wednesday, December 2, 2020

No conditions

If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.” – Deuteronomy 15:7-11

The day after Thanksgiving the New York Times told of a 33-year-old local cab driver whose shoulder-length hair was tied in a pony-tailed. About five years ago, this cabby “prayed to God for guidance on how to help forgotten people of the streets who exist in life’s shadow.” As he recalls it, God replied: “Make eight pounds of spaghetti, throw it in a pot, give t out on 103rd Street and Broadway with no conditions, and people will come.” He did, they came, and now he goes from door to door giving people food to eat.

I am not asking you to stuff the Big Apple with spaghetti. But a New York cabby can bring light into your Advent night. He prayed to a God who was there; he listened; he gave the simple gift God asked of him; he gave “with no conditions”; and people responded. Here is your Advent: Make the Christ who has come a reality, a living light, in your life and in some other life. Give of yourself…to one dark soul…with no conditions.

Walter J. Burghardt


God of grace, help me open my tightly-closed, safe heart so that it leads to open-fisted giving. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Go deeper

If you are medically able, eat only crackers and water one day when you awake. Plan to not eat anything for several hours. Take note of the feeling of hunger. Now imagine that you not only do not know where your next meal is coming from but also that you have a child to feed. Sit quietly and ask for the God path to be revealed to you.