Friday, October 5, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Crossing the Boundaries of Religion
Luke 7:1-10
When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, 'He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us' (Luke 7:4-5).
Luke 7: 1-10 clarifies that a true Christian is one who crosses the boundaries of the so-called religion. Centurion in this story is pained over the sickness of his slave. Centurion was a Roman military commander in authority over 100 men. He was an elite, a foreigner, and a gentile, who was considered as Israelite's enemy. Israelites had all the reasons to hate him because he was considered as worshiper of false gods. During those days slaves were treated as objects who are just machines to be used. They were not given any human values. But when centurion's servant got sick, he earnestly seeks to get him well which can be understood through his sending of Jewish elders to Jesus, requesting him to heal the servant. Since centurion was a gentile, he took help from the Jewish elders and they helped him because he was not an oppressor. He also built them a synagogue where they could worship their Lord.Centurion's love for his servant challenges Jesus to extend healing beyond the Israel's boundaries. Jesus "marvels" at the centurion and says "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith" (9).Centurion being a gentile could believe in the power of a Jewish man who would heal his servant. To centurion healing seemed was more important than his power and religion. Jesus healed the servant because he saw a centurion who thought beyond religion. What was more important at that time was the healing that proclaimed justice to all the humanity irrespective of religions. One becomes true Christian only when the society's needs are perceived from a justice point of view that would cross the religions. Salman was a Muslim but helping him was a justice that crossed the religion. Centurion's faith has challenged Jesus to see beyond centurion's religion and also Israelite's religion. It was crossing the created boundaries of religion for the sake of Just society.
God open our minds to perceive all humans as equal that we may cross the religious boundaries that we have created for ourselves, Amen.

Religion should unite people in Godly love.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church