Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Am I Responsible?

In His book Living Toward a Vision – Biblical Reflections on Shalom – Walter Brueggemann talks about Shalom for “Haves” and Shalom for “Have-Nots”.
• Shalom for “Have-Nots” involved crying out to God, asking Him to hear and to deliver. (A theology of salvation.)
• Shalom for “Haves” includes questions about proper management and joyous celebration. (A theology of blessing.)

“So we imagine the world either as a dreaded burden soon to pass away, or as a rich gift to be valued and nurtured. So we imagine ourselves as persons, either as among the wretched, waiting for a new deal, or as a trusted, valued manager prepared to act responsibly and confidently. So we imagine and preach the good news, either as a promise of the upheaval or as an assurance of durability of what is.”

I think that living missionally means that we will see ourselves as those who have. We will own the responsibility for properly managing the resources of our lives. We will be good managers of all that God has given us. We will recognize that very possibly God’s fulfillment of Shalom for the “have-nots” will come through us. We partner with God in his mission of restored wholeness.

The idea that I might be responsible for more than just me and mine is troubling and challenging. I can’t remember ever being taught this in any of my religious heritage or education. How could this be possible? In all of God’s dealing with the nation of Israel he constantly called them to care for the poor and needy for the overlooked and the ignored.

Isaiah 58:9-12 (The Message)
"This is the kind of fast day I'm after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.” "If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's sins. If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again."

1 comment:

Jim said...

Clear . . . compelling!