Friday, July 31, 2009

Exclusion & Embrace 1

Haven't blogged for a while. Thought I would share with you my engagement with the book
Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation by Miroslav Volf.
I preached recently from Matthew 8: 1-4 where Jesus healed the leper. (some notes here, ppt here). After asking who are the marginalized in our community, I refered to Volf who says

Exclusion has become the primary sin, skewing our perceptions of reality & causing us to react out of fear and anger to all those who are not within our (ever narrowing) circle…

& challenges us to

take the costly step of opening ourselves to the other, of enfolding him or her in the same embrace with which we have been enfolded by God.

In looking at the central place of Jesus on the cross Moltman suggests that : the sufferings of Jesus on the cross are not just his sufferings they are the “sufferings of the poor & weak, which Jesus shares in his own body & in his own soul, in solidarity with them.”

As followers of Jesus this is a model for us: to have compassion and show solidarity with the marginalised in our society & around the world. But how do we do that when the marginalized are often the ones we are most scared of falling victim to?

Jesus’ death on the cross is also an act of atonement: to make the sinner at one with God. (Volf) “… Like solidarity with the victims, the atonement for the perpetrators issues forth from the heart of the triune God, whose very being is love… God does not abandon the godless to their own evil but gives the divine self for them in order to receive them into divine communion through atonement, so also should we – whoever our enemies”

Who is God calling us to embrace today?