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Friday, November 15, 2013

Open-handed - a posture personally, theologically, and politically

Last night a friend from church asked me what side I fall on politically. Old labels carry too much baggage though. I know who I have been and I know who I want to be. I want to be someone who loves God and loves my neighbors. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, when Jesus explains through a story who
The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijna...
The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670) shows the Good Samaritan tending the injured man. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 qualifies as a "neighbor" (anyone in need) and what it looks like to love them (generosity of time, space and money), I see an all encompassing philosophy of life. It's a philosophy that is unhindered by artificial social barriers. It sees unity with all who bleed. No one in need is excluded. All are included. The examples of villains in Jesus' story are those who cannot be bothered with the inconvenience of aid, who cannot forget past grievances, who transfer the faults of a group onto the individual, who delight in justice instead of mercy. What makes the Samaritan good is the open-handed posture. What makes the others in the story counter examples is their closed-handed.

What makes Jesus intriguing to so many is his open-handed posture. But he wasn't always. His hand was closed to those who hurt others. His hand was closed to those whose hands were not open. A closed hand ignores the cries of the poor, the moans of the sick, the songs of (incorrect) worshipers. A closed hand takes instead of receives. An open hand gives, defends, heals, and protects.

I fall politically where I fall theologically, where I want to fall personally. Call me open handed, because progressive, or liberal, or inclusive, or generous are too easy. Open-handed is much harder, but more beautiful.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An open hand not only gives but is also open ro receive... if our hands are close fisted to others, most likely our hearts are closed as well.