Thursday, February 12, 2009

Did you just call me DIRTY?!

Leviticus 13:1-17 (NRSV)

The law concerning leprosy

Today’s reading is a graphic reminder of why I love Jesus so much! In the book of Leviticus, God instructed Moses and Aaron regarding how a priest might determine if someone with leprosy should be declared "ritually unclean." When a person was so labeled, it meant that s/he was unfit to live amongst his or her neighbors. The person was immediately excised from the camp; and if s/he ever had reason to move amongst "clean" people again, they were mandated to shout in warning, “I am unclean! I am unclean!” so that others might avoid him or her.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus changed all that? The Gospels make it clear that Jesus did not consider anyone so “unclean” that he was unwilling to touch them. Again and again in scripture we encounter Jesus reaching out with open arms to people who had been labeled unclean. He touched the lepers, healed the woman with the issue of blood, spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, and even raised the dead! In all of these cases each of the people whose lives were radically transformed by Jesus would have been totally ostracized by the community of faith to which Jesus belonged.

This is GOOD NEWS! By Jesus’ example we learn how we are to be in relationship with people that others may consider untouchable. We are to touch them—repeatedly--with the love and care of God until they believe and affirm that God loves them! Whether a person is suffering from HIV/AIDS, drug or alcohol dependency, homelessness, and/or mental illness, they are as worthy as any other to experience the love of God. Whether a person is in prison, has been orphaned, or is scraping a life together in the garbage dumps of the city, they—like every other human being—need tender loving care from God and friends.

I am always concerned when I walk into a church and notice that everyone present is well dressed, smells lovely, has their hair combed, and drove to church. It makes me wonder—Where are those of whom Jesus stated, “When you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me?”

I have come to the realization that the only thing that truly makes us unclean is sin. I define sin as a failure to love God and/or neighbor, as yourself. Unfortunately, the Bible explicitly states that, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)” But, here’s the GOOD NEWS! When Jesus died on the cross his blood covered up the multitude of our sins. We are a forgiven people saved by the love of God revealed through Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross!

Since this is true, we cannot help but live grateful lives dedicated to sharing this GOOD NEWS with others. Today, we are invited to bring the “untouchable” ones into our lives. As we pray for revelation God will begin to show us all of the people around us who need to be affirmed and loved in the name of Jesus! There is absolutely no one who is beyond the touch of God! Let us get to work to bring the GOOD NEWS to those who have been forgotten, abandoned, neglected, abused, and unloved by our society. We can do it, in the name of Jesus!

Is there someone that you have been avoiding lately with whom you could share GOOD NEWS today?

Lover-of-my soul, I am so sorry that I have failed to love all of my neighbors as myself. Please help me to extend radical hospitality and love to those who have been declared “unclean” by society. No one is so far gone that your love and salvation cannot rescue them. Help me to declare your great love for all people today and always. In Jesus Name, Amen.

*The entire scripture reading for today can be found by clicking the ELCA Daily Bible Reading Tab to the right.

*from Pastor Yolanda's blog

*EACH ONE--REACH ONE! To share GOOD NEWS with a friend please click the "Share With Friends" button to the right! Thanks for reading and please come again.

*Pastor Yolanda extends a very special welcome to our friends reading outside of the United States of America! We are honored that you are sharing with us today.

Summary in Spanish--provided by a reader in Chile--Danilo Isla

La Biblia aclara que Jesus no consideró a alguien tan "impuro", que no estubiera dispuesto a tocarlo. Una y otra vez encontramos en las escrituras a Jesus extendiendo las manos, con brazos abiertos, a gente que ha sido catalogada impura. Estas son BUENAS NUEVAS! Por el ejemplo de Jesus aprendemos que estamos para estar en relación con gente que otros pueden considerar intocables. Nosotros estamos para tocarles reiteradamente con el amor y cuidado de Dios hasta que crean y afirmen que Dios les ama! Si una persona sufre de VIH/SIDA, o dependencia de droga o alcohol, o es vagabundo, y/o padece de enfermedad mental, ellos son tan dignos como cualquier otro de experimentar el amor de Dios. Hoy, estamos invitados a traer a "los intocables" a nuestras vidas. Dejanos trabajar en traer las BUENAS NUEVAS! a ellos quienes han sido olvidados, abandonados, descuidados, abusados, y no amados por nuestra sociedad. Podemos hacerlo, en el nombre de Jesus!

¿Hay alguien al que tu has estado evitando ultimamente con quien podrías compartir las BUENAS NUEVAS hoy?

Amado de mi alma, Lo siento mucho porque he fallado en amar a mi prójimo como a mi mismo. ayudame a extender hospitalidad radical y amar a aquellos que han sido declarados "impuros" por la sociedad. Nadie está tan lejos como para que Tu amor no les pueda rescatar. Ayudame a declarar tu gran amor para todas las personas hoy y siempre. En el nombre de Jesus, Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment