Radical inclusion

Click here to listen to this 16-minute message.

Luke 1 presents a compelling narrative about two women and two unborn babies. It is a remarkable way to start a story. Four individuals who, in various ways, are at the margins of society – an old barren woman, a teenage girl barely out of childhood, a six-month old foetus and a newly-fertilised egg. This is hardly a group of individuals that one would think would change the course of global history!

Yet, it is this very group that God chooses to initiate God’s major intervention in human history. It points to a pattern that we see in much of God’s work among humans – radical inclusion. God seeks to draw unexpected people into the centre of God’s working, people who society might often think of as ‘less than’ or ‘other’. Often, it is not the powerful, influential, reputable, wealthy, intelligent or educated that God places in key roles. Rather, God often chooses the outcast, the downtrodden, the humble, those who recognise their limitations and those who feel they have little to offer.

In this sermon, I tease out some of the remarkable insights we gain into Elizabeth and Mary, and the unborn John and Jesus, that Luke presents to us in the opening chapter of his Gospel narrative. I show the many ways in which we see God’s grace working itself out in profound and striking ways among this unlikely group of individuals.

From this, we get the message that there is no-one with whom God does not want to work. Every person – every single individual – has a part to play in God’s great work to redeem the cosmos. There are no exceptions. No matter how insignificant or inadequate or unavailable you may perceive yourself to be, God has a place for you, a role for you. We have to trust that this is indeed true. We have to relinquish ourselves to participate. As Mary so gracefully says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

Conversely, we have to accept that God chooses to work with people we may feel God should not be working with. We (humans) tend to be far less tolerant and gracious than God! It is important for us not to become an obstacle to others who seek to play their part in God’s work. Even when we feel they are not right for or up to the task. Who are we to interfere with God’s judgment on who is worthy of participating in God’s work?

God’s radical inclusion is presented to us in Luke’s gospel as a cornerstone of God’s means of working. Through Luke, we see marginalised people, particularly women, being brought into the centre of Jesus’ ministry and God’s mission. We as individual Christians, and as a collective Church, should be emulating this approach.

Feature image cropped from: https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photo-of-two-pregnant-women-1253592/

3 thoughts on “Radical inclusion

  1. Genevieve Geekie says:

    Ah, my dear Adrian, just the message I craved today.

    Probably, I interpreted it it to suit my needs. I do not apologize; you spoke to me.

    Please pray for my daughter Caroline. She is 21 months pregnant, after two previous miscarriages. (We are prayerfully optimistic; she is 44 years old).

    My fond regards to your family, and wishing you love and every other blessing of the Christmas Season.

    Gen Geekie.

    On Sun, Dec 23, 2018 at 8:56 PM Reflections of God’s Love wrote:

    > Adrian van Breda posted: “Click here to listen to this 16-minute message. > Luke 1 presents a compelling narrative about two women and two unborn > babies. It is a remarkable way to start a story. Four individuals who, in > various ways, are at the margins of society – an old barren wo” >

    Like

  2. jabewsey@global.co.za says:

    Hi Adrian

    Firstly let me wish you a wonderful Christmas celebration from Kathy and myself.

    Secondly, I have just listened to your Sunday message – it being early on Christmas Day and Kathy is still asleep – and I am uplifted to the clouds by your message – this is the central theme of Christianity and it needs to be aired across JHB (and SA) from a very loud speaker from the top of the Vodacom Tower in Hillbrow – well I have just asked God for that to happen. I had a vision of a Good Press circulating in SA more than the Sunday Times where only good articles are published and this message of yours would be the editorial – now wouldn’t that be a marvellous thing to happen?

    Regards

    John Bewsey

    Like

  3. edingight says:

    Love your take on the Christmas story and the place of these two babies.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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