Thought for the Day from Heston Groenewald from All Hallows’:
Life is not a competition! But it sure does come easily to assume a ‘competitive spirit’. Martha vs Mary. Joshua vs Achan. Black people vs White people. Brits vs Foreigners. Us vs Them.
I’m grateful that we no longer dispense justice by drawing lots. But tragically, we are just as quick as Achan’s contemporaries to find scapegoats: to project our guilt and fears and insecurities onto ‘Others’ of different skin colours, genders, sexualities, countries, religions, and so on and on. And thus we end up loving those who are like us, and demonising ‘Others’ who are not.
Jesus’ life shows a very different spirit at work: God’s love poured out abundantly FOR ALL OF US. And this love necessarily assumes a preferential option FOR anyone suffering exclusion and injustice. (Demonstrated by suffering WITH the victims of injustice through the ages – see James Alison’s writings for more about Jesus’ death as innocent scapegoat)
Jesus invites us, along with Mary (and Martha!), to follow him. To live competitively and energetically FOR Others: to use our power and privilege in God’s service ‘bringing down the arrogant from their thrones, and lifting up the lowly’ (Luke 1:52)
Or as Luke has it later: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.