“Those at the edge, ironically, always hold the secret for the conversion of every age and culture. They always hold the projected and denied parts of our soul. Only as the People of God receive the stranger and the leper, those who don’t play our game, do we discover not only the hidden and hated parts of our own souls, but the Lord Jesus himself. In letting go, we make room for the Other. The Church is always converted when the outcasts are re-invited into the temple.” Richard Rohr
“In a world ruled by law, grace stands as a sign or contradiction. We want fairness; the gospel gives us an innocent man nailed to a cross who cries out, ‘Father, forgive them.’ We want respectability; the gospel elevates tax collectors, prodigals, and Samaritans. We want success; the gospel reverses the terms, moving the poor and downtrodden to the head of the line and the wealthy and famous to the rear. …To follow Jesus [means] to respond as he did, against all reason to dispense grace and love to those who deserve it least. …We see ourselves as on the side of Christ by giving to the needy. The new Testament makes plain, however, that Jesus is on the side of the poor, and we serve best by elevating the downtrodden to the place of Jesus. … the direction of charity is not condescending, but rather ascending: in serving the weak and the poor, we are privileged to serve God himself.” Philip Yancey
“There remains an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated – in short, from the perspective of those who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. Christians are called to compassion and to action.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith
and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- If a church is “converted” by “outcasts” that it welcomes, to what degree is your church being converted?
- How is your church doing at “dispensing grace and love to those who deserve it least?” Are such people even showing up in your church?
- What do you do that helps you to see “from the perspective of those who suffer?” Is that something you desire? What would be the point?
Abba, may I see you and serve you in serving the maltreated of my day.
For More: Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey
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