The frequency with which we consider the question of insider-outsider is an indication of how important universalism and the breaking down of boundaries is within our religious tradition. All peoples, all lands are called on to praise God. Furthermore, God cares about and cares for all people (see Is 19:25), and God works through all people to accomplish good in the world: Gandhi, a Hindu of Indian origin; Martin Luther King, Jr, a Baptist minister; Susan B. Anthony, a suffragist; Nelson Mandela, a Black South African, etc. Human beings have always realised that, in comparison with the grandeur and expansiveness of the universe within which they live, they are weak and vulnerable creatures. This has led them to believe in and offer homage to a divine being, or beings. Praise of God has always been an expression of awe and gratitude as well as humility.
If neither gender, nor race, nor age, nor class nor culture qualifies one for being an insider, what does? Today’s readings suggest that it is service of others. In breaking down the walls of prejudice, the social activists of our own age liberate not only the oppressed groups to which they belong, but also those who oppress them. The lives of these dynamic people show us that service of others draws them into our circles and encircles us in theirs. With open arms God invites all into an embrace of divine love. As God has embraced us, so we are called to embrace all others.
© Dianne Bergant CSS