In the midst of a complicated and troubled world it may seem impossible to make a difference, and yet, the wish of a little Israelite girl says otherwise. The spirit of the young Israelite girl and her larger cadre of enslave servants to Naaman live on today in the resourceful actions and tireless work of so many influential youth in our world, those whose passion and will for change persist.
Luke states with exquisite and unmistakable clarity that God will not hesitate to silence those with power, and give a bullhorn to those without power, even ensuring that—if need be—the creation itself will speak justice into the world.
The story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus is nothing but the story of people fleeing the violence of an authoritarian empire, though the glitter and celebration of Christmas may have muffled the brutal reality of migrants and refuges seeking sanctuary from death. It is in the midst of such imagined Christmas that the veracity of homeless migrants dying in choppy waters and people stuck in border detention camps waiting for a new future gives us a reality check. The violent empires may have faded but their legacies linger on.
The question I would like to pose this week is whether a theophany of the kind that we find in Job 38 would satisfy people—the aggrieved, the hurting, the oppressed, the battered—as a response to political tragedy.
To be personally acquainted with disownment and the discourse of death—simultaneously, from divergent communities—and still desire to be “servant of all” is, perhaps, one way to journey through death on the Way. Nevertheless, Jesus’ teaching to love neighbor and enemy is both beautiful and horrible, not unlike the Christ’s foretelling of his death on the way to resurrection.
Biblical stories about baptism are connected to, but also at odds with, historical theology about baptism as well as the current liturgical practices of baptism. Reading Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism together with contemporary theologies offers a glimpse of the radical solidarity of Jesus.
*This post originally appeared on the Politics of Scripture January 2, 2017.
The greatest potential implication of Isaiah 11:1–10 lies in the way it disrupts our expectations of justice, equality, and peace by framing of our narratives of the perfect society and unsullied nature. Rather than Utopia, the passage offers us a vision of a perfectly imperfect world order in absolute harmony.
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.