1st Sunday of Christmas, New Year’s Day, 2017         

Read Matthew 25:31-46

from Jerry Griffin, Lititz, PA:

In this text, the Gospel writer focuses on the art of being non-judgmental.  He equates Jesus with a shepherd who divides his flock based on standards and values.


By human nature, our temptation is to focus on the stereotypical differences regarding sheep and goats.  The advantage goes to the sheep who are deemed to be cuddly, soft and social.  The opposite is true for goats.  They are perceived as frisky scavengers who eat anything within reach, romp, climb and butt.


On the other hand, Matthew offers a totally different standard.  He proclaims that the act of division occurs with a focus on the commitment, trust, faith and loyalty of the followers or “missioners” in the name of the Son of Man.


Today, we begin a new year which is often perceived as a time for personal transformation.  Our mission is to accept our inheritance in the “kingdom prepared for us.” [verse 34] The manner with which we gain this endowment is to be openly accepting, loving and indiscriminate as we carry out our mission of service.  Consequently, we have successfully served our Lord through serving “the least of these brothers [and sisters] of mine.”  [verse 40]


Guide me, Good Shepherd, as I commit myself to serve others without being judgmental.  Amen

We express our gratitude to the ministers of the regions who have offered their devotional thoughts and prayers through this project, which is sustained by your gifts to the Christmas Offering for Regional Ministry.  To contribute to the offering, please visit the following pages:  Supporting the PA Region   or    Supporting the WV Region  Gifts received by Jan. 6 will be credited to your congregation for 2016 in Yearbook Reporting.

Prayerscapes is published by the Christian Church in West Virginia and the Christian Church in Pennsylvania for the not-for-profit distribution of their members and friends in the ecumenical church.  ©2016. All Rights Reserved.