Friday, December 11, 2015

Marginalized and ostracized

I've been quiet this week.
Thinking, meditating, praying. Resting, too.
It takes all of those things when I've been stimulated the way I was last week end. Or when we had to make a long trip with a quick turn-around. It takes so much more out of me now than it once did. I'm not complaining. It's just life at this age with these particular complicating factors.

So worth it, though.
We drove east last weekend for the memorial service of the man who was instrumental in our foundational growth as believers. I don't need to write about him, I did that the day he died (see "A Giant goes home" from November 13) so let me just say that to share that day with others whose lives were also touched by him was something I will never forget. His wife, whom I love like the mother I wish I'd had, his sons who are now dear friends (one of whom was my teenage-crush--just ask anyone; shoot, ask him!), many Young Life leaders from my high school years,people I haven't seen since those Young Life days,  many adults who knew my parents, a college roommate, and friends who have spanned all the years from then until now. It was a reunion of the best kind, a worship service in the truest sense and a memorial service worthy of the man we came to honor and the God he loved (still loves) first and best. I wouldn't have missed it and am richer for having been there.

But this week, in light of that service, in light of how Sam loved Jesus, how he taught me to love Jesus, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be an outcast, what it means to love the outcasts and marginalized. We have a unique opportunity right now to be Jesus Christ is the flesh in our country. We--those who call ourselves Christians--are meant to love. The end. Christian literally means Christ-one, or little Christ. There is great privilege in that name. Great responsibility. Those we are called to love are not those merely like us. And, if I read my gospel correctly, it's not merely with an agenda. We invite the outcast, the marginalized, the homeless, the poor, the hungry, those who are suffering IN because IN THEM we are inviting Jesus Himself. That's it. It isn't so that we can witness to them. It isn't so that we can get jewels in our crown or because we might be in the same situation some day, it's because He is in it, in them. He asks us to and we do it.

The idea that we close our borders, that we keep out a specific people group, that we say no in order to be safe, is as counter to the gospel of Jesus Christ as fear is to love. And that's the truth of it, it's fear acting, not love.
However, I've read a plethora of articles using the argument that we can't allow this to happen to Muslims because it could also happen to Christians.  This is a wrong-headed, selfish argument. We say no to something because it's wrong. THE END. God takes care of us. We do and live and practice righteousness. We practice hospitality. What becomes of us is up to HIM.

I've been quiet. I've been praying. I've been meditating on this season. Come Lord Jesus. COME.
Let me be a part of YOU coming. Let me, in the quietness of my little life, pray for hospitality. Trust Him for our safety, and LOVE those He calls me to love.

No one is left out of that.

Marginalized, ostracized,
Crucified.

We want to be kept safe.

I think we have it all wrong.