A person’s favorite teaching of Jesus is, “So the first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matthew 20:16). S/he wants to know when it will happen. When will she get to “revel in the luxuries that [the 1 percent] take for granted.” Apparently s/he thinks the 1 percent are “the first.”
Responding to his/her inquiry, the wise teacher wonders if the inquirer is missing Jesus’ point. In Jesus’ kingdom there are no firsts and lasts, no winners or losers, no chosen and not chosen, no true believer and infidel. “[God’s] kingdom,” the wise teacher says, “is not a zero-sum, winner-take-all game of ‘us against them,’ but a non-zero celebration of all of us together.” The wise teacher goes on to suggest that the inquirer choose to stop playing his/her game and start playing Jesus’ game.
What if we did that? How would our experiences in Detroit be different if our sole focus was on a non-zero celebration of all of us together? I have a few ideas.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you give and receive trust as you grow together with other Lutherans and Detroiters.
Ask the Holy Spirit to amplify your awareness of people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized and strengthen your resolve to welcome them, not out of pity or obligation, but with a spirit of love and respect.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to show your authentic self – even the parts you judge to be bad or negative – and trust that others will form a connection with you where you are.
Ask the Holy Spirit to heighten your awareness of the times you assume power or act as if you have all the power, and ask for the humility to give your power to another.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make an intentional commitment of attention and time to listen mindfully to another’s story and invest in their thriving.