Pentecost 6, 2024

Inside and outside – here is the tension we get to deal with this week in the Gospel reading. I am not sure that we get that enough. I think our world wants to front some of these tensions and we are very uncomfortable with how the world does that. The various post-modern ideologies which promote themselves and post-colonial, feminist, queer, or otherwise, often make us uncomfortable. We don’t know quite why we are uncomfortable all the time, and sometimes we have rejected them for the wrong reasons, but they bother us. And they should bother us. They have flawed anthropology at work, they have no Christ at their core, and they often involve simply flipping power structures so we can do to them as they have been doing to us.

But, and you had to know that there was a “but” coming, much of the rhetoric and many of their goals in fact comport with what we might read in our Bible. God does indeed look favorably upon the poor. Mary was inspired by the Holy Spirit when she sang of God casting the mighty from their thrones and sending the rich away empty. Jesus parable of the man and who tore down his barns only to build new ones so that he might be secure has to strike a bit of a nerve for many of us when we spend more time managing our retirement accounts than we do in prayer.

The core issue is that the Biblical assessment of injustice and those who are outside power and inside power is always rendered in light of Christ. He has taken up our humanity, all of it. That makes the beggar on the street and the millionaire equally valuable in God’s eyes and ours too. He has forgiven all our sins, so the murderer and the pious church going old lady are equally in need of and receive the forgiveness of Jesus. He has suffered, died and rose – all of us meet him in the great equalizer of death. Our toppling of the mighty and raising up of the poor are rooted in a reality which centers on Him.

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