The parable in Matthew 25 beginning at the 31st verse is usually called the parable of “The sheep and the Goats” but it isn’t a story about the relative virtues of two common farm animals. It is all about us, our relationship with Jesus Christ and to each other. The parable has inspired a number of stories notably ‘Papa Panov’s Special Day,’ which is basically a children’s story and a more adult story, ‘The Fourth wise Man.’ Both Papa Panov and The Fourth Wise Man hope to encounter Jesus, and come to realise that they have met Him in all the many people they have been kind to. Here is a modern poem inspired by the same parable.
He was cold, he was poor, he was homeless, he was sad
The corner of a railway station was all the home he had,
The fun of family had passed him by,
The politicians argue while the homeless people sigh.
Shelter the homeless our Lord said He,
He who shelters the homeless surely shelters Me
She was old, she was frail she was lonely, she was sad
The affection of her little cat was all the love she had
The pleasure of friendship was passing her by.
The churches keep their festivals
While the lonely people cry
Befriend the lonely our Lord says He
She who befriends the lonely
Surely befriends me.
She was young, she was sick, she was starving, she was sad
A cup of dirty water was all to drink she’d had
The comforts of infancy had passed her by,
The rich get richer, while the starving children die,
Feed the hungry our Lord said He
He who feeds the hungry, surely feeds me
He was young, he was brave, he was captive, he was sad
A damp and putrid prison cell was all the space he had
He forfeited his freedom through speaking his mind,
He only wanted justice for the whole of humankind
Free the captives our Lord said He
She who frees the captives surely frees me.
Two thousand years on the parable is still relevant today, but probably that could be said of most of Christ’s wonderful stories.
Go well, stay well (South African greeting), God Bless, Rev’d Sheila Cameron