Posted by David Gungor on 15 February 2017

"Will we ever rise? Will we ever rise above the fear?"

Fear tears us apart. It is the root of all exclusion. When we think of judgement we tend to think of who is in and who is out. We fear those who are unclean, those who are different, those who don’t fit into the systems in which we’re comfortable.

We fear those who are different than us. Are you in friendship with anyone outside of your circle of belonging? We so easily exclude those outside of our social systems, often without a second thought. The homeless, the uneducated, the poor, the sick, the dying, the old, the disabled, the strange, the ugly, the weak; the list is unending. We objectify those whom we are afraid will threaten our systems of comfort and belonging.

 We fear the dissident or the one who seems to threaten our existing order or system.

The one who threatens those with vested interest in money, power, and control. 

The gospel that Jesus shares in the book of Luke has a radical theme. Jesus brings a social revolution, in which the previous systems and hierarchies of clean and unclean, sinner and saved, and up and down don’t mean what they did before.

Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed."

Jesus was killed for being a dissident. Followers of Jesus were persecuted and killed for living out a life that threatened the systematic vision of the existing order.

“The story of humanity is that of heroes and martyrs with a new vision for humanity regarded as dissidents by some, as prophets of freedom by others. Christians were thrown to wild beasts in the coliseum because Romans saw this new, strange religion as a threat to the existing order.” - Jean Vanier

We FEAR that if we actually try to break out of our system of exclusion, we may be excluded.

And we fear the injustice in which we play a role. Our own injustice keeps us up at night. We cling to security, and we become obsessed with defending our way of thinking, refusing to loosen our grip on the systems that allow us to feel safe.  However, I think a lot of us are feeling that this isn't a good, healthy, loving way to live, that there has to be a better way for us to live, to follow Jesus.

“To be open is an enormously risky enterprise; you risk status, money, even friendship, the recognition and sense of belonging that we so prize; you risk the chaos of loneliness.” - Jean Vanier

How is Jesus speaking to you in this moment in time? How is He showing you His way of love, of openness? We do this exercise at our church where we all sit up straight, hands open in front of us to receive, and we breathe. We take a deep breath and then we let it out, and we exhale all the fear and anxiety we’ve been carrying. And then we breathe in deeply, breathing in the love and peace of Christ. Take a moment out of the busyness and chaos and overwhelming noise that barrages us daily, and sit down and breathe. Then take the risk of friendship towards those you fear. 

 

 

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