Kenneth Samuel: When It Matters Most

Romans 5:8

"But God demonstrates [God's] own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Reflection by Kenneth L. Samuel

In Lorraine Hansberry's acclaimed play, A Raisin in the Sun, a struggling African American family in the Chicago slums during the 1940's is devastated when the son, Walter, risks and loses in a business scam the $10,000 inheritance left to the family matriarch by her deceased husband's insurance. When Walter's sister, Beneatha learns the extent to which Walter will prostrate himself for money, she says that he is less than a man. When Beneatha's mother urges her to love her brother, Beneatha responds: "Love him? There's nothing left to love." Her mother then states:

"There's always something left to love... Have you cried for that boy today? I don't mean for yourself and for the family 'cause we lost the money. I mean for him... Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain't through learning - because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so! When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is."

Mama Younger gets her insight and inspiration on how to love someone from Jesus. The love of God in Christ Jesus was extended to each one of us while we were in our most unlovable states. In response to our selfish vanity and arrogant rebellion, Jesus offers the forgiveness of love and the hope of redemption. Christ never waited on us to get ourselves together and meet him half way. He came all the way, and paid the total price for our redemption before we even recognized our need for it. "While were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

I wonder what troubled marriage or life partnership couldn't be saved if one spouse/partner demonstrated more of a love like this. I wonder what would happen to public education in America if, in the face of failing schools and students with severe deficiencies and families in crisis, we nonetheless completely committed ourselves to the re-investment and reform of our public schools. I wonder what kind of new life could be generated in the world if the church became a living testimony to the gospel truth that love given should never be governed by the expectations of love received. I wonder what relationships in my own life could be rescued from despair if I sought more earnestly to love others the way Christ loves me.


Dear God, we thank you for not just loving us, but for loving us when it matters the most. Give us strength today to do likewise. Amen."

Taken with permission from the UCC's StillSpeaking Devotional