We must learn to subvert the economic model of our rulers by reconnecting with older models based on reciprocity, hospitality, and love.
The two stories of Luke 15:1–10, which we might call “parables of the remainder,” illustrate a core component of the Christian political orientation. That is, they highlight the alternative logic of much of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that urges us to foster solidarity in community through identification with the remainder, with the least of these, and to thereby bring justice and liberation.
Psalm 1 presents the reader with two, mutually exclusive categories of human existence: righteousness and wickedness. However, experience tells us that to be human is far more complex. Rather than simply embracing the psalm’s presentation of life, we might enter a dialogue instead, one wherein we consider what it might mean to be formed by attending to others rather than reifying our existing in-groups.
Jesus does not command those with privilege to make space at their tables, to give a portion of their excess to charities, or to invite a disadvantaged neighbor to join the feast. No, Jesus invites those with privilege to put off their privilege, and then to use the excess that their privilege has still provided to feed not their fellow privileged friends, but those who are most in need.
The created heavens and earth–indeed all of God’s creation—are fleeting, temporal, and ephemeral, not permanent like God’s eternal Kingdom. Our worldly kingdoms aren’t completely worthless, but they are penultimate and ought to be despised in contrast to God’s eternal stable Kingdom.
Faith is an enacted practice we live into through our whole selves, continuously laying our souls and bodies bare and vulnerable before the unknown. The consequences of this are thoroughgoing, touching every single aspect of our lives and making demands on both our loyalties and our activities in the world.
True ritual is a searching indictment of all injustice, a corrective for it, and a model for righteous behavior. Presenting ourselves before God in our ceremonies, we invite his inspection of the entirety of our lives; recognizing this fact, we must comport ourselves accordingly in all that we do. Civil religion and cultural religiosity will betray all those who put their hope in them.
The quest for a homeland and the experience of being a stranger and an alien—a refugee—in the world is central to the calling of the faithful in Hebrews 11. This reality should remain integral to our self-understanding as the people of God today.
Just as asylum seekers fill US migrant detention centers, so too this week’s lectionary readings address social injustices faced by the stranger and the poor. Both readings present consequences for those who fail to extend hospitality to the vulnerable other.