“But Jesus gave the poor more than food to eat and relief from their sickness. He restored them to God’s beloved community.”
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, God’s Economy
“Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God: for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled his faith.”
“God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the love, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and the broken.”
“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people…”
MY PRAYER today is for inclusiveness. “A community that excludes even one of its members is not community at all.” (D. Wilkins). It seems to me that exclusion in the playground, in the workplace, in the church, in the neighbourhood, in our community, and ultimately in our world, comes down most of all to fear. Although there is a place for boundaries, and caution, I believe that even more than greed or selfishness, it is fear that defines our acts of self-interest, fear that causes us to see shadows where there may not exist. It is fear that builds our prejudices, and plays on our insecurities and further fortifies our defences. ‘Perfect love casts out fear’, and I believe that it is the only antidote to it. We are fearful of what we do not understand, love draws us to a willingness to understand, to place ourselves in another’s position, to sit at the table together and acknowledge differences and look for solutions. Love acknowledges that God loves our neighbour, no matter how different they may be to us, as much as he does us. Love humbles us, so that we see Him in every living thing. May God open our eyes today, to his vision for our communities. If we all took another’s hand today, I wonder if our embrace might encompass the world.
These are drawn from daily reflections and prayers I write for my Chaplaincy colleagues.