Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Justice, mercy and humility.

The readings for Sunday July 15th (Proper 10)  can be found here
One of our best loved stories....The Good Samaritan...features this week
If you can't read the cartoon then click on it to go to a larger version.
It's worth it!
My suggestion would be that God's will is not terribly hard to discern
Most of us have a fairly well developed sense of it.
Indeed, theologically we would say that baptism orients us towards God
and so we grow in that direction.
Like plants towards the sun.
So I am always puzzled when I meet someone who is genuinely hard
who hates refugees
who thinks that poor people deserve everything they get
because they are lazy.
Very few are so perverse as to think that the poor are being punished by God
for something or other,
but secretly many of us despise the poor.
So it is opportune to be told, reminded if you like,
by the prophets, like Amos, Hosea and Isaiah
that God's measuring stick
....for Amos it is the famous plumbline....
is not just right belief or thoughts
it is not just correct religious practice.
In fact at times the prophets are downright dismissive of such things,
as indeed Jesus can be.
But we are to heed in the call of Jesus
the call to care for the poor, the needy.
To look around and see 
that there are people in our society
who are in danger
and it is part of our job to walk around with open eyes
and respond as we can to their need.

Fear et al
What I think it is that makes us like this
is fear!
The cartoon illustrates this quite well.
I can be compassionate until the fear button is pushed.
For this man when he hears the beaten up man speak Spanish
(the language for Americans of illegal immigrant...what would it be for 
an Australian...Indonesian, Sudanese, Vietnamese!!)
suddenly his world view is changed.
This is confronting for us at this time.
One of the things this story confronts us about is
Will we challenge our own fearfulness,
will we stop to help the person who has been beaten up,
will we venture into the dangerous environment
where we know people are in trouble?
Will we confront our own inner ghosts...terrorism, illegal immigration,s
fear that our comfort may be jeopardised...
and respond rather to God.
Often we just say No!

God wants more of us than we are often prepared to give.
There is a reason for this.
God sees that we need to to be challenged more deeply
than we often begin to suspect.
Where might this be for you?
Can you at least pray for courage to be a little braver
than you are inclined to be?
Can you, can we take the next step?

This week
  • Where is God asking you to respond to the desperate need of others?
  • What prevents you from doing this?
  • Can you find someone else to support you in venturing into difficult territory?
God of the Samaritans, God of the Poor, God of the Broken
give me the same eyes of compassion that you have.
The eyes and heart of Jesus. Amen.

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