Leviticus 19: 9 - 10 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
Dear Friends of the Gospel,
May the grace, peace and love of God sustain you today.
One of my favorite quotes by Mahatma Ghandi is one I identify with, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
The way the Christian faith has been defined in our American context can often times seem so far removed from the faith outlined in God's Word. Throughout the Sacred Story, God shows a deep concern for the penniless and powerless in our community. The Spirit of the Lord should provoke us to have compassion for the immigrant and vulnerable and not contempt.
So how do we follow God's will in the modern context?
First of all, let's stop the labelling! When our family moved from Michigan to Maryland last year, we had to properly pack all the boxes and fix a label for what room the box should go to and what contents each box held. Kitchen, Zach's room, Z's room, basement, den, etc. Every box had a place and every place was waiting for its box.
We do the same with each other, we label and we expect the labelled person to stay in their "place." We especially love to label those who differ the norm with normative and hit them with unsavory terms. We attempt to Un them if you will. We label them UNworthy, UNclean, UNable, UNacceptable, UNlikeable, UNdesireable, UNwelcomed, UNdocumented, etc. Religions have a tendency to label in this manner.
Amazingly, for as many ways people use God as a reason to UN another human being throughout the Sacred Story God is trying to IN people. To INclude, INvite, INvolve, INtroduce, INtegrate, INvest, INspire, INcrease, etc. There are ample moments where God's Word recognizes our shared humanity and requests for us to honor one another as belonging to one another.
It's not just a Jesus, New Testament thing either. Right in the middle of the book of Leviticus, notice how God calls for the people to remember those who live on the margins of society, particularly the poor and the foreigner, by providing access to means of sustenance and life. God is calling for us to have a heart and live with compassion by creating access for the poor to receive from the land and gather "the gleanings" from the field.
Which is why once we drop the labelling, let us live the loving. Unashamedly! Demonstrate how we are called by God to love and honor each other as children of God, created in Her image. Watch what happens, when you invite everyone to experience the love of God, you invite yourself to greater experience the love of God! Know God's love by not being intimidated to show God's love.
Love, Pastor G