Cinco de Mayo 2020 looks a lot different for America. Today will be the first 5th of May in a long time where everyone will not be flocking to Mexican restaurants to sip margaritas and devour chalupas and enchiladas. Cinco has become a holiday that American consumerism had ruined and turned into a drinking and raucous holiday. I was guilty of this for much of my life. I loved celebrating Cinco every year as an excuse to drink a little extra tequila and dig my toes in the sand at a beach somewhere. Never once did I give this holiday the opportunity it deserved by taking time to acknowledge a wonderful part of America’s dynamic DNA.
While you may not be able to hit up your favorite Mexican hot spot, today is still Tuesday and a great day to make some tacos and celebrate the cultural diversity that makes up our incredible nation. It is also a good day to remember that we are all Children of God and a time is coming when we need to stop clinging to where “culture” says we come from and focus on the truth of who we are. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all tied together and our greatest celebration should always be celebrating who we are in Christ.
6Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Chrsit of Nazareth, walk.” 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Acts 3:6-10)
As you will see throughout the Book of Acts, the Apostles have now been blessed with the same healing and miraculous powers that Jesus had on Earth. Peter heals a man who had been lame since birth, a beggar sitting at the temple gates asking for money. Peter gives him much more than some change, he changes his life forever.
Many cities around America suffer from a homeless epidemic. For some, homelessness is a trap that they can not escape from. For others, it’s a way of life, surviving off the streets and not having any ties or responsibility. For most of society, we could never fathom the thought of not having a home to go to everyday, or know where our next meal was coming from. But there are those that have chosen this lifestyle, sometimes due to mental handicaps and no facilities available to handle adults with severe mental disease. In the city I work, Savannah, the community has a strong heart for the homeless, and because of that, it is somewhat a sanctuary for these isolated members of society. Many street corners stand a man or woman holding a sign, asking for anything people can spare. Many motor vehicle operators will find themselves avoiding eye contact with this population as they wait for the light to turn green. Just like the lame man at the gate of Beautiful, how many times had temple parishioners passed by without even looking him in the eye. Then Peter and John come, and Peter makes sure the lame man looks at him. And they don’t give him any money, they heal his body and give his soul a chance at redemption. Next time you see a homeless person on a side street, if you feel compassion to give them some money, by all means do so, but make sure they look you in the eye and you remind them that Jesus loves them. And maybe they’ll remember that Jesus also sees those that are truly afflicted, and those that are working the system.
Our current global crisis is pushing thousands to the brink of financial disaster. There are many across our nation this very day that might not know how they are going to stay in their current homes. America has not seen a financial disaster such as this since the Great Depression. Our government stepped up in big ways with some economic relief, which was necessary, but the one time payment coming almost a month after many had no income will not be enough for families still in dire financial stress. I am praying that this administration continues with some sort of financial stimulus every month for those that need it. I do think that if the government narrowed their scope and provided relief to those that actually lost income and applied for unemployment, this would save the government some money. But if the government were to send out more stimulus checks in the next month or two, this also provides America with the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ. Get a stimulus check you don’t need? Find someone that does, and give it all to them. This crisis has humbled me and made me realize that I need to better my financial standing so I can help those around me. There are people suffering that need more than just a twenty dollar bill as I sit at a red light. Do not let this pandemic pass and leave you thinking, “I wish I had done more.” Give, whether financially, spiritually, or physically. Give, whether by volunteering at a food bank, honking and waving outside of a senior center, or handing any extra cash you have to someone who truly needs it. Give until it hurts. Follow the example of the Apostles, and be the example for this generation.
Reading plan: Acts 5
Deeper reading plan: Ezra 9, 10
Prayer and meditation: Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones. Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet. And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much.
Fitness challenge: Sprint day. Add another 100 meters to your distance, but to get there, we’ll do a little pyramid. ½ mile jog warm up then, 100m, 200, 300, 300, 200, 100m sprints.