Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Farmer on Matthew Twenty-Five

"... the emaciated beggars, the barefoot children lugging water. Through the jouncing windshield, I (Tracy Kidder) saw a thin man in a straw hat on a starving Haitian pony. He was kicking the pony's protruding ribs, hurrying, I imagined, to get to work on some rocky, infertile piece of local farmland so his children could have at least one meal today. I was looking around in my mind for a consoling way to view the roadside sights and also, frankly, for something likely to impress Farmer. A fragment from my religious education bubbled up. I said, 'If you've done it unto the least of them, you've done it unto me.'

'Matthew twenty-five,' said Farmer. 'Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.' He went on paraphrasing, 'When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you took me in. When I was naked, you gave me clothes. When I was sick, when I was in prison, you visited me. Then it says, Inasmuch as you did it not, you're screwed.' He smiled, swerving around another giant rut in the road."

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