Dear Saints, here’s my reality. This is Craig’s heart: if I am to be criticised about anything, I’d rather be criticised for loving too extravagantly and welcoming too many than for being mean-spiritedly exclusive and keeping out those I consider too sinful for Jesus.
Jesus invites us to welcome the Samaritan and the Gentile and the widow and the orphan and the poor and all those whom conventional religion excluded from the reach of God, like the sick and the untouchables and unclean and those who broke sexual mores.
In our society, we have our own category distinctions of who we think is acceptable to God. Jesus broke that mould and he flattens the distinctions borne of our “fear of God’s wrath”.
Jesus says the healthy don’t need a doctor but the sick. He says a Samaritan is acceptable to God. A prostitute is acceptable to God. An adulterer is acceptable to God.
Does it mean “anything goes”? Absolutely not! We cannot protect ourselves from consequences of our actions.
But here’s what Jesus says. Jesus says go into the highways and byways and find the poor, the hungry, the sick, the excluded for those are the ones he loves. He says God welcomes a sinner back home without any buts or conditions or judgement – and we should stop being that prodigal brother who is angry about God’s mercy shown to others.
So this is me. I will include anyone who feels excluded, even if you believe “it is compromising with the world”. The New Testament says that is how God loves people, with no conditions attached, and without limitation, with no thought of whether it is merited, and without us being self-appointed gate-keepers on behalf of God.
God’s love is extravagant. God’s love is uncompromising. God’s mercy is unlimited. God’s mercy is for everyone, saint and sinner. No one appointed us as gate-keepers for God’s mercy. This is the core ideal of the Reformation of 1517.
Maybe, just saying maybe, Jesus must be less like us, –
and we must be more like Jesus.
Rev Craig Morrison