Saturday, February 24, 2007

If another, then I

I came a cross a quote from an early Christian today that reminded me of what Martin Luther King Jr. said, "If one person is oppressed then all are oppressed." Jerome said, "The one whom we lok down upon, whom we cannot bear to see, the very sight of whom causes us to vomit, is the same as we are, formed with us from the self-same clay, compacted of the same elements. Whatever another suffers, we also can suffer."

We, as Paul says, are parts of one body. We cannot be whole apart from the rest of humanity. When we pretend that we need to withdraw as a community from the sins of the world to avoid contact with all that is immoral or otherwise distressing, then we miss our call as Christians to work in and along side of each other helping the birth of the new creation.

God is bringing into being something that is new, a world that has not yet been seen. And we are in the midst of the birth. The water has broken and we are the midwives or Lamaze partners supporting and encouraging what is already happening. And we are connected.

We cannot get there by ourselves thinking that is 'my' experience that saves me. Even if it is an experience of God that 'I' have had - an overwhelming happening that causes 'me' to recognize God's presence in my life - it is not the 'one' who is being saved, but the whole world. And that is what Jerome, Martin Luther King Jr., scripture and saint through the ages have called people in the church to recognize. We are not alone. We are not saved by ourself. We are called forth as a people of God and we minister to those around us.

Who is the neighbor is the question in the story of the Good Samaritan. And how will we answer?

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