I received this from a dear friend and it immedialty struck me as relevant to the discussion of community. The idea that dynamic and varied growth occurs along the edges is self-evident in nature. Neither an old growth forest nor a huge field of wheat or corn shows the variety, dynamism or provides for the needs of wildlife like the edges where bioregions meet. I would say the same is true of where our religion and our community and our social environment meet.
Sunday, March 13
First Sunday of Lent
Those at the edge of any system and those excluded from any system, ironically and invariably hold the secret for the conversion and wholeness of that very group. They always hold the feared, rejected, and denied parts of the group’s soul. You see, therefore, why the church was meant to be that group that constantly went to the edges, to the “least of the brothers and sisters,” and even to the enemy. Jesus was not just a theological genius, but he was also a psychological and sociological genius. When any church defines itself by exclusion, it is always wrong. It is avoiding its only vocation, which is to be the Christ.
Only as the People of God receive the stranger, the sinner, and the immigrant, those who don’t play our game our way, do we discover not only the hidden, feared, and hated parts of our own souls, but the fullness of Jesus himself. We need them for our own conversion.
The Church is always converted when the outcasts are re-invited back into the temple. You see this in Jesus’ commonly sending marginalized people that he has healed, back into the village, back to their family, or back to the temple to “show themselves to the priests.” It is not just for their re-inclusion and acceptance, but actually for the group itself to be renewed.
Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 28, day 27
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