"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  Matthew 5:48

This is a tall order for any of us.  Last week Jesus pushes us to think about our relationship with others and this week it is all taken to a higher level.  Freely giving everything we are asked for, go the extra mile for someone.  Give more than what we are asked for.  This is so hard for us.  We are so consumed with protecting what we have, or being responsible stewards, or not having enough for someone else.  How could we possibly give any further, and how could we ever be perfect.

I think it is more in our striving to do more.  I think too we have to ask the difficult questions:  Would I be more holy if I started giving everything away?  Would I encounter more of God's grace in this?  Would I be helping a whole lot of people?  Would I be a light to the world by doing this?  We tend to more often ask:  Won't I be taken advantage of?  Don't the people on the street just drink it away?  How can I be sure I'm not being a doormat for any new story I hear?

Lent is coming up and its a good time to be thinking about all of these questions.  The step we sometimes miss though is truly identifying ourselves with others.  So this Lent I'm putting out a challenge.  We have a food pantry we run twice a week every week.  What I would like for all of us to do is to try living on food stamps for Lent.  This would mean buying groceries at 31.50 a person per week.  By doing this I hope to open up our understanding of what it means when people come to the food pantry.  Why people sometimes feel at the end of their own rope. 

What it must feel like to have to come and ask something of someone else could be another challenge.  There are some articles out there about trying to find the place to sign up for benefits and getting lost and having someone tell them where it was.  The person is totally embarrassed and mumbled to the person about the fact that they are doing an article for the paper.  Anything that helps us to walk in another's shoes would be good and it will hopefully reveal something new that you had never thought of before.