Monday, August 24, 2009

Saint Augustine, Christ and the Poor

Monday after Pentecost 12
August 24, 2009

On Mondays I teach a New Testament Greek class at Lamb of God Lutheran (LC-MS), and much of my day it absorbed in either teaching the class or preparing to teach it. I have also been responding to some comments and questions that have been posed by a reader of this blog on the post about the ELCA receiving in their ministry people who are actively engaged in a homosexual relationship. As you might expect, some of those comments and questions relate to the same-sex-sexual-relationship issue. The other line of comments and questions relate to Holy Baptism. Because of this I’m going to “cheat” on this post and offer you another quote from Saint Augustine

In the sermons of Saint Augustine that I’ve read, I’ve discovered that he loved contrast. I thought that I’d share one of those passages with you. In it Augustine is encouraging his congregation to be charitable to the poor.
    Consider his (Christ’s) wealth; what could be wealthier than the one through whom all things were made? And yet he, though being rich, took flesh in the virgin’s womb. He was born as a baby, wrapped up in baby clothes, laid in a manger; patiently he awaited the successive ages of life; patiently he endured the succession of times, the one through whom all times were made. He sucked the breast, he cried, he was manifestly a baby. But he lay there, and reigned; he was in the manger, and held the universe together; he was nursed by his mother, and worshiped by the nations; nursed by his mother, and announced by angels; nursed by his mother, and proclaimed by a shining star. Such his wealth, such his poverty; wealth, to get you created; poverty, to get you restored. So that poor man’s being hospitably welcomed as a poor man, was doing the benefactor a favor, not relieving an unfortunate person’s needs. (The Works of Saint Augustine, A Translation for the 21st Century, Sermons III/7, page 62)
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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