Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

In preparation for worship this Sunday, read Philemon 1-21 and Luke 14:25-33. Then read the following excerpt from Jesus before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation by Albert Nolan.

Jesus appealed…for a loving solidarity which would exclude nobody at all.
            Solidarity with humankind is the basic attitude. It must take precedence over every other kind of love and every other kind of solidarity. ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple’ (Luke 14:26).
             The commentators always point out that because of the paucity of the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, the word ‘hate’ is used to cover all the attitudes which are not love. Thus it could mean hating, being indifferent to, detached from, or not preferring, someone. In this context, we are told, Jesus is asking for detachment: that one should not give preference to one’s families and relatives. This is true but it does not do justice to the mode of thinking of Jesus and his contemporaries.
            If love means solidarity then hate means non-solidarity. What Jesus is asking for is that the group solidarity of the family be replaced by a more basic solidarity with all humankind. This obviously does not mean that one’s kith and kin are to be excluded—as enemies! They are included in the new solidarity because they too are human beings. Nor does this mean that one should love them any the less. It is the basis of the love that is being altered.  They are not to be loved just because they happen to be your family and relatives but because they too are persons. They are to be loved with an inclusive love. In the end this will mean that they are loved all the more. They will be loved, not merely preferred.
            All the other references to the family in the gospels confirm this interpretation.
Until we meet again, may the Lord bless you and bless others through you.


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