The Radical God — Student Wanda Simpson

When there is a disassociation from people who are not part of the “norm,” it makes one wonder exactly what the “normal” is.  Who decided that it was acceptable to gravitate towards one group of people and to stigmatize another?  The definition for normal is:  Approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment or free from any mental disorder.  There are more people that fit the above definition than not. That being so, then it would appear to me that one group should be caring for the other.  I am speaking about caring for the poor, the mentally ill, those with addictions, the discriminated and the disenfranchised just to name a few. These are the people to who we do not extend invitations of hospitality or build intentional relationships.  For many of these people, it would be hard to receive the word of God, but what if we could speak to them about the Radical God.  I am speaking about the God who always puts those first who society puts last.

The Gospel of Matthew 9:10-12 reads that as Jesus sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with Jesus and the disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they said to a disciple.  “Why does your teacher eat with the tax collector and sinner?” Jesus’ response to this was, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”  Jesus was very aggressive in supporting those who were rejected by both Roman and other Jewish People.  The Romans kept the Jewish people disenfranchised; the Pharisee were so blinded by their own self importance that they lost sight their real task for the people and like we do with our own people today. We push those away who are unable to live up to our own self proclaimed standards. 15183688419_c2a050bd23_z

However, we have a radical God who is both compassionate and faithful, but angry enough to literally flip over tables in protest of unrighteousness.  Our Radical God in the beatitudes clearly and boldly tells us of those who are already blessed, the poor in spirit; those who morn; the meek; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.  From this, I would think that God has shown us that one of our purposes on earth in receiving grace we are to move grace forward.

We as Christians have a duty to allow ourselves to be instruments of grace.  However, we need to make the decision to want to be an instrument.  Let us keep in mind that this is the promise we made when we were baptized and each and every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper to love and care for God’s children.  When we thirst we drink, when we are hungry we eat, when our minds are confused we rest.  Everyone does not have these same opportunities, but if we boldly move beyond our own stigmas we can help those who we stigmatize.  God hears and knows our desires and will help us to help others.

Holy God in your omnipresence we know that you are with us all.  You see all that happens and all that needs to be done.  We ask today that you give us the strength and boldness to help and be a blessing to all of your children. We want to care for those who are homeless, those who are ill, those who are waiting for a prayer to be answered and those who are seeking your face.  We thank you for your teachings and we desire to keep our minds and heart opened to your will. We thank you for giving your life so that we way have life more abundantly.   Amen

1Wanda E. Simpson is a first-year student at McCormick Theological Seminary and a hospital chaplain; she is focusing her studies on Medical Ethics.