(an excerpt from homily for January 21)
Jesus was not a preserver of the status quo or conserver of people’s status and privilege, instead he encouraged them to share what they have, give honor to those whom they may have been taught to segregate from or discriminate against. For this reason I do not understand how some invoke the name of Jesus to denigrate whole people groups. It is the life and teachings of Jesus who inspired our own baptismal covenant to “respect the dignity of all human beings.
It was Jesus who infuriated those who believed their tradition and religion gave them special privilege or access to God. It was the life and teachings of Jesus that inspired the dream of The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to dream of the day when “his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by their character.” It was the teachings and life of Jesus that inspired our own Episcopal tradition to challenge our culture and church’s systematic condemnation of those who are Gay. It is Jesus pointing to the dignity and goodness and holiness of the marginalized and the hypocrisy, arrogance, and self-righteousness of those who claimed to be “the chosen ones.”