Facing Our Prejudices
“Imagine two people coming into your meeting. One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags.
Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, “Here’s an excellent place. Sit here.” But to the poor person you say, “Stand over there”; or, “Sit underneath my feet.” Wouldn’t you have shown favoritism?…
God chose those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith and as heirs of the kingdom. Don’t honor one and dishonor another…Love every neighbor as yourself.” Epistle of James
This selection of writings was read in worship this morning. They are from a letter tradition says was written by James the brother of Jesus. It is a powerful reminder of how quickly we are seduced by outward appearances. Folks that look nice, smell good, wear fashionable clothing with beautiful smiles seem to draw people to them while those without such amenities, too often, are shunned, looked past, avoided or treated as lesser than.
The word “favoritism” or “partiality” literally means “to receive the face.” In other words to look at someone and decide/judge whether or not they are worthy of our time, effort and lives.
True love doesn’t have conditions. Radical grace knows no limits. Sacrificial giving of ourselves is never dictated by the other.
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.” #ThomasMerton