There once was a gay man, that everyone in the city knew, who was travelling from James Bay to Oak Bay. On the way he was attacked by thugs. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily a Pentecostal Pastor was on his way travelling down the same road, but when he saw him something popped into his head…and he quickly swerved to the other side of the road. Then a Baptist pastor showed up, he looked at the human wreckage on the street, and something crossed his mind…and quickly he did a 180 and back tracked.
Finally a visitor, a Muslim man, dressed in the clothing of his tradition came upon the beaten gay man. When he saw the man he was moved, his heart was filled with compassion. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and wrapping his wounds. He called a cab, and took him to the Empress Hotel. He left his credit card with the manager of the hotel telling him to take good care of him…give him anything he needs, or asks for. If it costs anymore, I will settle my bill later. ( my postmodern paraphrase of Luke 10:30-36 )
What do you think?
Remember at the start of Jesus’ parable the religious scholar stands up and ask Jesus, ” what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He answers his own question, ” That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence…and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
This parable is about the radical scandalous redemptive parabolic imagination of the Kingdom. Kingdom living is life beyond religion…it is navigating life with your heart. Instead of Jesus letting religious people of the hook because they are ” right ” or because they have followed scripture word for word…he drowns them in the deep waters of love. It is the challenge of levite and the priest…who were not to defile themselves with a dead body. They were ” right ” to make their ” right ” turn. In the redemptive imagination of Jesus, they weren’t right enough.
The muslim man in my parable above, is actually more right than the believeing, professing pastors. The muslim man was ” right ” because he was consumed with loving God and neighbor…and he lived it out beautifully at that moment. It all comes down to love. It’s Jesus taking us into the midst of life, in real life events, crisis where we are left holding two things; all our scripture, the laws, the church dogma and doctrines and church rules in one hand…and to Love God, and to Love neighbor in the other. To live in the Kingdom is to drop the heavy load and just go with…the profound mystery of loving God, and neighbor with every part of your life. That’s faith in the reality of the Kingdom.
Could the Muslim man be in the Kingdom? I reflect deeply on Matthew 25, I think of the Kingdom, it will, and is filled incredible beauty, and a diversity of people that will blow our minds wide open.
What do you think?