Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fighting prejudice; winning wholeness

Readings for Proper 23 Sunday 14th October.

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 and Psalm 66:1-12 [or 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c and Psalm 111 ]
2 Timothy 2:8-15 & Luke 17:11-19

Leprosy has a sort of romantic attraction for many Christians

but in reality that romanticism is ill-placed.

It is as romantic as AIDS in the modern context

and as socially stigmatising as skin cancer

or any disease which has disfigurement associated with it.

The story (Luke 17:11-19) has not only some interesting reflections to make about seeking healing from God

...Do we for example live out of the thankfulness of answered prayer?

Or do we quickly forget that God desires healing for us all?

This story reflects that 9 out of 10 people

forget to give thanks to God.

and my estimation would be that that is about right!

But the story also tells us that God's healing is not confined by religion,

it isn't just confined

to who we think

God should be disposed towards.

God's concern is towards humanity and not just to Jews or Christians,

white or black.

It is not just to be nice to children

or those who say their prayers

God's concern is for the whole of humanity.

God's grace, the free gift of eternal life,

is without bounds

and is offered to all.

It is a reminder to us that we should be no less open.

That our compassion needs to be challenged beyond the bounds of niceness.

We are to be open to be compasssionate

beyond the bounds of our own social caste or religion.

The world is not like this.

9 out of 10 people get this wrong.


This week we saw a curious little incident

which indicates how easily we are seduced

to be partial, racist and selective in showing mercy.

It is our enlightened view that although criminals need to be punished,

the days of the death penalty are behind us.

I think this is a view that accords with God's universal generosity and mercy.

When we see our politicians on both sides


"No death penalty"

except for those who we call "terrorists" or who kill Australians

then we are allowing the sort of discriminations

that Jesus himself stands against.

Why do they do this?

They do this because substantial parts fo the electorate do indeed make this sort of discrimination.

I want to say that Christians need to stand against this.

As we follow and worship a man who was himself killed

not for any guilt of his own

but because of political process gone mad

we should be the first to stand against such political machinations.

Political expediency is not the standard we follow.

Christian mercy is.

This week

Can you reflect on where you make judgments

based on prejudice rather than compassion and mercy?

Invite the Holy Spirit to let you do better than this and to show you how?

God who is truth and love

grant to us your people

the wisdom and compassion

to act justly and with mercy

in the name of the guiltless Jesus

who died that all people might know the love of God.

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