Justice for All
This week I have been thinking a lot about the process of seeing in the gospel of John. And I believe that sometimes we religious folks can be very short sighted and become entrenched in our way of seeing. And knowing that I am at risk of falling in that category, I cannot help but lament that lately it seems that “religious liberty” is the catchword for enforcing a limited Christian way of seeing. And I would hope that faith groups could be more like the Samaritan Woman and Jesus from last Sunday’s gospel story, who began the conversation by acknowledging their differences in religious expressions and ended with coming to the awareness that God’s dream was to move beyond our differences to establish community and ultimately freedom for all. To me this means that my “religious liberty” does not deny rights to others but calls me to find ways to live in community with them. Jesus he did not tell the woman to stop believing or worshipping the way that she did but offered her a dream of God calling us to live in the intersection where we can find our common bonds. Increasingly, I find myself discouraged by the divide between people of faith and how we draw our lines in the sand and refuse to cross. I do not want to live in a world where Christian folks are not seen as the narrow-minded fundamentalists who get there way or else. But I want to live in a world where Christians are not threatened by the differing beliefs of others and are seen as those who act with the compassion that was in Christ and offer the welcome of the gospel. And some day on the news I hope to hear not that Christians are fighting to keep people out of their places of business because of who they love, or what type of birth control they use or because they wear Jeans or a burka but instead that Christians are healing the sick, releasing the captives, ending poverty and proclaiming jubilee and justice for all. And we will live the truth that God so loved the world that God gave in order that all may live.