“Can we consider acting on behalf of others simply because they are human and not for any other reason? Can we include people in the “us” that we would defend no matter what the cost? Even if it had nothing to do with me and the people like me? Even if it had nothing to do with protecting my way of life, my standard of living or my world view? Even if it cost me some of those things?”
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me, for whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for me will find it”
‘Every generation, religious or secular, can see the end of the world coming soon. It’s normal. We apply our social anxieties to the status quo around us. Today, however, we face legitimate ecological, economic and humanitarian crisis. We can see our world coming to an end.
Jesus saw the end of the world also. Jesus was like us; Jesus could see his own world coming to an end, and he believed that God would one day restore the world, but he also knew that the Kingdom of God is here now. Jesus shows us how to build a better world, even if we can see our own world ending.
The world might be ending, but we go to the poor; reach out to the sick and the oppressed. We improve the living conditions of those in need.
The world might be ending, but we share our table with the poor and the powerless. We create communities of equality.
The world might be ending soon, but the Kingdom of God is here now, a community among us, growing over time.
This world might be ending… Like Jesus, we build a better world regardless.’
‘Jesus gave his life. But before that he gave his time. Radical generosity can take many forms. When we give our money, our time or our lives this too can be a radical act.’
“Jesus chose something deeper than charity or even being a social justice warrior. He chose solidarity. Jesus doesn’t hang out with the outsider to pull them to the inside – Jesus is the outsider.”
“Salvation doesn’t happen when you pray the sinners prayer – it happens when you join the revolution” NT Wright
‘We expend a lot of energy wondering what other people’s agendas are – assuming their actions or decisions have a hidden motive, especially when their actions or decisions are outside the norm, create conflict or take us outside our comfort zone. It’s easiest to assume people are driven by ambition, greed, competition, the approval of others or some other form of self-interest because we recognise those motivations in ourselves.’
Many often say that God wants something specific for our lives, that God has a plan for lives. Some imagine God may want something extraordinary for their lives; a life of health, wealth and power. Jesus, however, never told anybody that God had a specific plan for their lives and continually called others to sacrifice and to suffer for others.
In Matthew 4:17-23, Jesus declares that God’s Kingdom is here and invites other to follow him; preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom to the poor, reaching out to the sick and the oppressed. Those who choose to follow Jesus imitate his work (Mark 6:6-13).
What we learn from Jesus is not what God might want for our lives, but rather what God might want for others. God wants good things for our lives, but our lives must be about building God’s Kingdom, a better world, for the poor and the different and the despised. What does God actually want from our lives?
God wants us to build a better world and include those who need it most.
‘So from that time on I’ve tried to get reacquainted with the real Jesus. The Jesus that hangs out with the excluded, the marginalised, the LGBT of this world.’