Not my people

Then His mother and His brothers arrived and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him.  A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.”  Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?”  Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!  “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:31-35

The deranged murderer of eleven worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last week said in one of his electronic rants that “XYZ (you fill in the minority group) people were a threat to my people.”  My skin color may be white.  I may be “Christian” (but not in today’s popular sense of the term).  I may be male and heterosexual.  But I am not one of his people.  Nor should anyone be.  His people are filled with hate, exclusivity, rage and fear. Who are my brothers and sisters? Same answer as Jesus gave – those who do the will of God.  OK, and what is the will of God?  Volumes have been written on this topic.  The vast majority takes the approach that God’s number one priority is that you are saved.  I am more than suspicious of this slant because it flies against the basic teachings of Jesus and the entire prophetic work of the Hebrew Bible.  The teachings of Jesus, all of them, sit firmly in the tradition of the prophets who preceded him for a thousand years.  The prophet Micah addresses the question, “What does the Lord [God] require of you?”  Answer: “To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly.” If you care to consider the true fundamentals of our faith, it is to “care for the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the foreigner (sojourner in your land),” and all who are oppressed.  We are to leave ourselves “unstained by the world.”  We are to “leave rage alone” and “not let the sun go down on our anger.”  The fundamentals of being Christian have little to do with being saved and everything to do with helping the most vulnerable and the least in our society.  This kind of orientation and action is not popular today and it is admittedly a hard sell, but it is literally the gospel truth.  I, for one, will never stand with white supremacists or white nationalists.  There is nothing they stand for that I believe is true or important.  I will stand with the sick, the disabled, the poor, the prisoner, the huddled masses yearning to be free.  They don’t need to be saved.  They need a helping hand and a caring heart.  It is through that helping and caring that we become the sisters and brothers of Jesus.