Opening Prayer (Collect)
Lord Jesus Christ,
lover of all
and especially of the dispossessed;
help us to deal with all suspicion and prejudice,
and reach out in love to all excluded people,
whatever their needs or circumstances. Amen.
your Son Jesus reveals your way
by becoming the least and the lowliest,
and by reaching out to all who are lost and broken.
Help us to live his life today. Amen
Bible Passages: Psalm 130.1-8 Luke 19.1-10
PEOPLE – Including the Excluded
The most outstanding feature of the Jesus’ ministry is his priority for people – especially his concern to reach those whom others try to exclude, esp. sick people, children, women, ethnic minorities and tax collectors.
The gospels consistently emphasise how Pharisees, crowds, and even disciples tried to stop Jesus meeting such people. No wonder then that Zaccheus, a chief tax collector became a key concern for Jesus, and no wonder that the crowds disapproved of this – many of them would have been victims to the exorbitant Roman taxes he dragged out of them. However for Zaccheus his meeting with Jesus was transformational.
Our society is increasingly segregated on lines of class, wealth, and ethnic background. It’s clear that to be Jesus-Shaped we need to connect with people well outside of our personal ‘comfort zone’.
This week we need to make sure that we are not just connecting with people who are in our own social band – but we are open to all.
We need to ask some questions of ourselves
What does it feel like to be ‘excluded’ – what experience do we have of this?
Why do we find it tempting to exclude certain kinds of people?
Why does Jesus make connecting with ‘excluded people’ such a top priority?
Who are the excluded people in our own community and society?
What have we got to show excluded people that can help them to find faith in Jesus?
What do we need to become if we are to include excluded people?