Pentecost +8 or Community Practice 8
August 3, 2014
Disciples: "Send them away."
Individuals within the crowd being sent away: "Hear a just cause."
Here is a tension from time immemorial. Those who have theirs will find a way, one way or another, to keep and expand what they have. If they need to build walls to protect their investment, they will. If they need to hire guards to protect the walls, they will. If they need to design surveillance to watch the guards, they will. Simply, they will do what they need to do.
Here early disciples and later church live and move and have their being-control of resources and people are but one resource.
On the other side stand those who have been harmed in one way or another. Everything they have tried has been thwarted by themselves or others, usually others (whether the other of culture and society or the other of one or more individuals). There is nothing left but an appeal for justice and when mercy has not been active and justice is a last appeal there is usually not a good outcome.
When things finally come to this place of last resort we do put all our chickens in one basket: "As for me . . . I will have to trust some unseen future because there is nothing that has been left untried here."
The question that has been bequeathed to you and me is which side of this dynamic we find ourselves.
Usually it has been a mixed bag for us. On one divide we are on one side and on another we are on the other. The old "seamless garment" ideal doesn't easily get put on. Our little privileges keep poking through.
Nonetheless, what's a disciple to do these days but to recognize their own limits, put down their institutional protections, and join a prayer to be freed from deceit, their own as well as that of their church, nation, family, or other privilege generating body.