When we fail to see our common humanity then we believe that we are “different” from one another and then we see them as “other”. And from this we can come to believe that we are superior or better than the one who is different from ‘my clan’, those who are like me.
This concept of “other” often creates a situation where the one who is “other” is dehumanized and degraded. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream…a dream where everyone was equal…where there were no “others”…only “us”!
This dream of MLK’s was a “Kingdom dream”…the Kingdom of God…and he saw this dream because he had “Kingdom vision”…Martin Luther King lived as if “the Kingdom of God” was here and now!
In the Gospel we hear this weekend that Jesus tells us to be very careful about who we believe is on the inside and who is outside…because we might be the ones who end up on the outside, precisely because we separated “others” out and made them “outsiders”!
Jesus tells us a “cautionary tale” of “otherness”! Jesus is seeking to tell us that there is no “other”…we are all the children of God…including all the migrants and immigrants around the world, like those at our southern border! Jesus is telling us we are all sisters and brothers, beloved children of God!
Regardless of the color of our skin, the place or circumstance of our birth, or our social status or our religious or political affiliation or our gender, each and every one of us is connected as a beautiful creation of God -- as Martin Luther King proclaimed, whatever happens to one of us happens to all of us!
Imagine if we lived like that…that is what Jesus did for us on the cross! What would our world look like, what would our political conversation sound like? Would we be banning books in our schools just because they were written by people of color or because they tell stories challenging racism or books that raise up stories of inclusion and representation to our children? These books written in the hopes that they will help our children grow up to build a society where diversity is celebrated and those who are “other” are welcomed and made to feel loved and accepted -- as my sister and brother, just as they are, beloved children of God!
What am I willing to do to break down the barriers that separate me from “the other”? Do I really believe that “we” are all God’s children, loved equally by God? What does that mean for me? How might that challenge how I live my life? Who do I see as “other”?