I’ve been thinking and studying a lot lately about what it would look like if we really saw “your [God’s] kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. [Partially because, apparently, I may be teaching on this soon]. Actual events in my life over the past 2-3 years have also caused me to look deeper at what we – as Christ followers – are called to be in this world; agents of his kingdom, working in step with his will to introduce people to what God’s future will look like when perfected.
Our lives are intended to be a witness to what his kingdom is like, which means our ‘raison d’être’ is to live as if his kingdom is already breaking in (which it is, has and will continue to do). We are people of “The Way” – the people allowing God’s reign to have ultimate sway in our lives.
One specific way we do this relates to how we treat others – especially those we feel aren’t worthy of associating themselves with us, whether because of “their sin” or because we view them as enemies. There have been some real-world issues that have raised their head in my life that have challenged me as to how Jesus would act in such situations.
I came across a daily meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr today that discusses this from the point of view of the eucharist:
Eucharist As New Social Order
Jesus was consistently inclusive. You try to find an example where Jesus intentionally excludes anyone. He will name their relationships honestly and correctly, but he never creates “in groups” and “out groups” and, in fact, moves in the very opposite direction.
Yet the common image of most Christian denominations is that they are largely exclusionary institutions. How did we ever get to this point? I think it is because most church people, and their leaders, have never transcended the early egocentric level of life.
Even the Eucharist itself is still used, at least in my Catholic Church, to define the worthy, the pure, and the true members, or as a reward for good behavior. Where did this come from? And we do it right after piously mumbling at Catholic Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy.” But I guess we think we still really are! Almost every time Jesus eats, he seems to be eating with the wrong people, at the wrong table, saying the wrong things, or not washing his hands ahead of time. By doing so, Jesus potentially rearranged the social order, because meal etiquette defined and maintained the social order and social class, and this is what surely upset both religion and state. Eucharist still could and will redefine social relationships, but we have not had a lot of success up to now. *
God, help me to always remember you included everyone in your announcement of good news and that I should never act like the religious leaders who attempted to ban and blame people in an effort to feel secure and in control.
Grace welcomes all to the table!
* [taken from http://conta.cc/118En1Q ]