Reflection #11: What sorrow awaits / A.J. Hendry

Reading: Luke 11

At times I feel like I live in two world’s.

One surrounded by middle class ease and comfort, a world in which the question of the Divine’s demand for Justice is theoretical, a nice idea, but not necessarily in need of an urgent practical response.

In the other, I am in the midst of extreme need, amidst poverty and desperation. In this world the Divine begins to make sense.

I hear her Scream, her cry of pain as Her children suffer. I hear Her unwavering demand for Justice, for Liberation. And I weep as it goes unanswered, as Her children suffer, as the Divine Scream continues on without end.

Jesus heard Her too.

In today’s passage I can almost see Jesus is over it. He is surrounded by pain, by poverty, by the continual suffering of His people, and then this guy starts complaining that He didn’t wash his hands?

I can almost hear Jesus like, really bro? Is that the hill you want to die on?

We got people out hear dying, is this really the issue?

In the face of the immensity of human suffering and oppression, cultural customs and traditions are meaningless, Jesus does not back down from calling out the hypocrisy, he names it, he redirects those around Him to focus on what is really important. Justice for the poor, Liberation for the oppressed.

I get how Jesus may have felt in this moment. I struggle with how Christian Culture seems so focused on issues of personal morality, and winning theoretical and theological battles against the culture, when our own whānau are suffering, are dying, are living with the consequences of extreme injustice and inequality.

I wonder what Christian Community would look like if we were as offended by those who perpetuated and benefited from poverty and inequality, as we are by those who have a different sexual effect to ourselves, or who swear in church, or who are still recovering from an addiction?

Sometimes, I think we forget whats really important. It’s people, it’s Love for our nieghbour, for those our society has made vulnerable, for those we have forced to the margins.

The Divine is concerned about Justice, Jesus invites all humanity to join Him in His work of Liberation, but those who are not with Him are against Him. We should let that sink in.

Jesus is one of the poor, He is being oppressed, and He is asserting His Liberation, He is not backing down.

And those who are not for Him, are against Him. He requires not an internal, spiritual response, but a tangible, physical sign of allegiance and repentance.

We are invited to decide, will we place our feet next to Him? Or will we stand with those who oppose Liberation?

A.J. Hendry

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