Dear Christ Church,
Yesterday was the feast day of St. Matthew. As we move deeper into our year-long sermon series through his gospel, I wanted to share a few details about this beloved apostle:
- Prior to following Jesus, Matthew was a tax collector who would have been a social outcast both to his employers (Romans) and kinsmen (Jews).
- Early traditions state that Matthew eventually gave his life as a martyr for Jesus.
- Artists often depict Matthew with coins and a scroll. The coins represent his life as a tax collector and the scroll shows his life as an apostle and biographer of Jesus.
Matthew’s own life is one of profound transformation: a social outcast redeemed into friendship and community through the tender love of our Savior, an outcast turned herald of the good news. This transformation is a central theme of the gospel and one experienced deeply by Matthew himself. You can read more about Matthew’s feast day here.
One of Matthew’s most cited passages is in Matthew 25. Jesus teaches that whatever acts of compassion and mercy church members do to others, he considers they have been done to him. In other words, our love for the ‘least of these’ is directly proportional to our love for Jesus, and this is especially applicable for us at Christ Church. As a downtown church, on most Sundays our congregation is blessed by a mixture of mostly housed and a few unhoused neighbors–all coming together to worship God.
This Sunday, I’ll host a brief, 30 minute meeting in the Parish Hall after both services to outline at a high level the ways in which Christ Church parishioners can more deeply love and know our unhoused neighbors. We’ll talk about worshiping with Church Under the Bridge, a pilot group on faith and mental health called the Sanctuary course, training from Lazarus-Atlanta, and other ways of befriending and serving among our neighbors experiencing homelessness. I invite you to join us!