You have probably noticed how regularly the Gospel returns to the theme of radical inclusivity. There is a stark contrast between the religious leaders of the Old Testament who drew lines between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ and ‘in’ and ‘out’, and the prophets who called for all people to be welcomed and treated with justice, grace, and dignity. There is a stark contrast between the way the religious leaders of Jesus’ day drew lines of division between those who were acceptable (in their eyes) to God and those who weren’t, and the way Jesus welcomed, healed and served all people, regardless of race, nationality, language, economic position, gender, or religion. If our religion leads us to live with anything less than the radical inclusivity of Jesus, we have missed the point of the Gospel.

It’s easy to speak of how all people are equally loved by God, and how all people are connected and essentially the same. But these words only really make sense when we start to act them out. This means that we must be willing to give up anything that we think makes us ‘better’, or ‘special’, or separate from others, while honouring the uniqueness and dignity of each person on their terms. It takes a loving, servant heart to recognise that some people require more care or sensitivity because of how they have been marginalised or hurt, while being willing to give up any desire for such special treatment for ourselves. Yet, this is what Jesus did.

This week, we will be wrestling with what it means to love and serve others in a way that honours them and gives them dignity.

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