The book of Wisdom reminds us, ‘For he created all things so that they might exist’ The Psalmist reminds us that into that uncorrupted creation which God delights in, comes conflict and our human desire to think that God has favourites and so writes, ‘I will exalt you O Lord for you have raised me up, and have not let my foes triumph over me’. And yet to those who have fallen from society or who are excluded by social and ritual laws who are most probably God’s real favorites, Jesus says in our Gospel to the woman who has been hemorrhaging for 12 years, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well’. And in that moment by calling her daughter brings her into his kinship. And to the dead child who at 12 years is now free from the fathers protection Jesus raises her from death to life, bringing her also into the protection of God who will loose anything he has made.
The Christian church from its beginning to its present life if it is to have authenticity, needs to be a church (amongst many definitions) for the outsider and the lost person – for the person who is made to feel that they do not belong in the world.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t belong in the world, though our membership might mean that we don’t belong in a way we want to belong! It means that we might need to recognise that in the keeping of our religion, our beliefs and practices, we are not mainstream, we too are on the edges of what some might call, “normal society” looking in.
And though we might be privileged homeowners, or travel the world and look to have the trappings of a conventional world “order”. We are outsiders like the woman and child in our Gospel have been given a place and a home within the family of Jesus.
So we are a church of and for the ‘outsider’. Whoever that person might be… so that they might come to know the truth of God which is that he has no favourites, only that which he has made.
When Jesus heals or teaches, when he is crucified and risen – it is outside of the city wall, in the remote places away from the trappings of political life and success where God is revealed. And it is to those who at one level or another that Society and organised religion has rejected that he says, you are my daughter, you are my son, you are a child of God where God is revealed.
To be the church for the outsider should be our joy, accepting others as they are and looking to their flourishing as a unique manifestation of God’s hope for each of us we come to be part of a community of worldly misfits in the community of God’s love. Do not be afraid of those who God is calling to be part of this community. Only be fearful if you cannot see yourself or God in them. Amen