Saturday, 5 September 2020

The Lost Sheep

 Tomorrow in the Sunday lectionary we will be reading Matthew's version of the Lost Sheep parable. If you are thinking that you have heard enough explanations about this parable (whether Matthew's or Luke's version) check out a post I put together a while back comparing the canonical versions with the version fo the parable in the Gospel of Thomas. (Here) It is different. In Thomas, the shepherd seeks the lost sheep not because it is lost/weak, but because the shepherd loves it more. An elitism foreign to the canonical versions. The New Testament takes great pains to reiterate God's universal love for all of creation. God has no favourites. Jesus didn't come just for those with esoteric knowledge.

Having been hard green-left thirty or more years ago, I know how tantalising it is to think that God does have favourites. Christianity's insight (derived from a resurrected and vindicated victim) that the voice of the victim is the voice of God. This is not meant to be an ideological tool to make new victims. It is the sensitivity to the victim and our mutual making of victims that comes with the territory of being a follower of Jesus. But, without the conversion to the way of Jesus himself, this insight is distorted into a new ideology wherein to have any moral ground one must be a victim or speak on behalf of a victim.  The result? Look at where we are now in the West. New victims, self-righteousness, revenge, we have it all.

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