Friday, May 28, 2010

The inclusive Jesus

I'm currently reading Mark's gospel for my devotional reading. It reminded me of my probationer minister days. On one occasion I was involved in a discussion about the encounter between Jesus and the Syro-phonecian woman. There was some debate about what Jesus was doing and whether the story shows him changing his mind.

Having studied Mark's Gospel in some detail the previous year, I suggested an alternative view that he was acting out a parable. I wasn't prepared to concede that Jesus didn't know what he was doing, it seemed more than likely that he knew exactly what he was doing.

At this point in the gospel Jesus seems to begin to express his heart to be inclusive as he reaches out across cultural and religious boundaries. On Sunday we looked at the story of Cornelius and how God pushed the early church to break down barriers and cross boundaries in order to reach the people missing from the family of God.

Everywhere I look in the story of the Bible I see God reaching out, crossing boundaries, entering cultures in order to win the lost. So how come we're not so good at it? Have we become so insecure that we feel that we will be compromised if we let this group or that type into the church?

The co-housing folk seem to interview prospective members quite extensively before letting them join. Do we do the same? Do we make it difficult for the people Jesus misses most to find their way in because we are less willing to cross a few boundaries?

How can we follow Jesus across the fence?

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