“Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life” (ELW 719)
1 Where cross the crowded ways of life,
where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife,
we hear your voice, O Son of Man.
2 In haunts of wretchedness and need,
on shadowed thresholds dark with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed,
we catch the vision of your tears.
3 From tender childhood’s helplessness,
from human grief and burdened toil,
from famished souls, from sorrow’s stress,
your heart has never known recoil.
4 The cup of water giv’n for you
still holds the freshness of your grace;
yet long these multitudes to view
the strong compassion in your face.
5 O Master, from the mountainside
make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
among these restless throngs abide;
oh, tread the city’s streets again;
6 Till all the world shall learn your love
and follow where your feet have trod;
till glorious from your heav’n above
shall come the city of our God.
There is a deep, abiding, seemingly contradictory truth at the heart of the Christian faith: we are called to be Christ to our neighbor and, at the same time, to see Christ in our neighbor. Christ tells us that when we serve our neighbor in need, it is as though we are serving him. However, the act of serving our neighbor is also Christ-like.
The words of today’s hymn beautifully illustrate this paradox: “the cup of water giv’n for you / still holds the freshness of your grace.” The acts by which we love Christ in our neighbor are inherently blessed with the grace of Christ himself.
As we noted at the beginning of this week, the world is full of harshness, pain, and suffering, but we can experience the living Christ every time we show love to our neighbors.
Lord of love, open my eyes to see you in my neighbor, and awaken my soul to be you to my neighbor. Amen.