Quotations from Chairman Jesus

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Quotations from Chairman Jesus

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By David Kirk of Emmaus House

with a foreword by Daniel Berrigan


DEDICATION To Jim Forest, in prison, and Margie: “They have done a beautiful thing.” See Mark 14:6

Copyright: 1969 by Templegate Publishers Library of Congress number 71-98154





The Way of Jesus: Shalom


The Way of Jesus: Communal Change


God and Revolution


The Living God


The New Age


The Christian Life-style


Fathers of the Revolution



The gospel of Jesus is spoken in a world! intoxicated with death mesmerized by death convinced of the necessary rule of death skilfully conniving with death technologizing death acceding to the omnipresence of death I



And Jesus says No to this omnivorous power So his word makes the slight all but imperceptible difference (which is finally the only difference)*’. A good man, himself powerless, stands at the side of powerless men and says to death No for them for himself




Can any of you place before you a single child, smiling squirming in your arms; and say The death of this child is a fact of modem war; I accede to that death. I regret it of course but what can one do? We have to destroy in order to save; villages, women, children. The system traps us all. . . 4. ' The system; horrible word! Can the system trap the conscience of a free man? Traps are for animals; freedom is for men. I cannot speak for you but I will not wait upon Caesar to instruct me in God’s word. I am' a man. I can read; If a man will save his life, let hint lose it. I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you do to me. Blessed are you who suffer persecution for justices sake i . .

5. Jesus had nothing to say to “systems” , except to deny their power over him. He said in effect, violence stops here (pointing to his body). _ _ He said in effect, it is better to die for others than to live (live?) in a trap.

6. .. . Be concrete be immediate! Imagine the world! If you embrace a child, can you consent to thei death of a child? each human face leads you (follow!) to every human face. 7. ^ I can only tell you what I believe. I believe I cannot be saved by foreign policies I cannot be saved by sexual revolutions ^ I cannot be saved by the gross national product I cannot be saved by nuclear deterrents I cannot be saved by aldermen, priests, artists, plumbers, city planners, social engineers, : nor by the Vatican, nor by the World Buddhist Association nor by Hitler nor by Joan of Arc nor by angels and archangels nor by powers and dominations i

8‘ I can be save3 only by Jesus Christ. ,


9. Take this book with you, please into the midst of children old men and women the poor, the defeated, the innocent. Carry it about with you, let it speak wherever men struggle, suffer, abandon hope. Let the book happen to you. It has no other reason for being. 7

A man very like yourself first spoke the words of these pages, "a man acquainted with grief, like us in everything save sin alone.” He is as near to you as your next drawn breathy


I do not know where my life leads. Do you know where your life leads? The next note is not struck. The hands (foul, cleansed) hover over the instrument. My friends asks me; After jail, what? You too (my friends) start awake at midnight, question the silent lover beside, the dream wrapped child; where? what next? w



Lover, child, in the immense dignity of birth or death refuse an answer There is no answer The genius of the gospel is in the name of man to refuse an answer. We had best go forward as those in love go exulting in the breadth of the swath love opens the sound of a scythe at harvest the soundlessness of children sleeping 8


a universe of unanswerable grandeur! 12. If we have awakened to the world it is probable that our salvation is near If we abide in love we shall be greatly loved. 13‘ . . . I believe that twelve just men, believing against all evidence, may stir the soil or sea with toilers’ hands, bring up intact something flowerlike, something— Chairman Jesus. That direct and life giving man waits on you. The world waits on you. The two statements are quite simply verified. Close then open your eyesfl


INTRODUCTION “ Christ is Lord,” the first Christians shouted in a counter-acclamation to the insistence of the Roman state that “Caesar is Lord.” This was their way of pro­ claiming that Jesus Christ, not the current Emperor in Rome or colonial governor in Palestine, was the only source and criterion of the Christian’s life. To make ‘ the same point today we use another phrase with a twist—“Chairman Jesus” —to say that Jesus alone, ex­ pressed in the actions of conscience and a life which seeks brotherly community, has our total and final commitment. Anything given to Nixon (or whoever is president or chairman where we live) is given pro­ visionally, always subject to the condition that what his power asks or demands does not contradict our conscience, our humanity. In the end, of course, the best presentation of the gospels is one’s own life. But we must do this “ transla­ tion” together. QUOTATIONS FROM CHAIR­ MAN JESUS has come from the attempt of one 11

group, Emmaus House in New York City,* to answer the question always before us: what is the meaning of Jesus for our lives now, for men in general? We have many questions, not many answers. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we are searching; we risk the unknown, putting everything to the test. These are the notes of fellow searchers, travelling with the rest of men, sharing what we have experienced and discovered so far, “like one beggar who tells another beggar where to find bread.” You must understand the purpose, then, of QUO­ TATIONS FROM CHAIRMAN JESUS. We are not trying to catechize the reader, or even offer him a sum­ mary, a universal expression of the faith, a text or scholarly work. We want only to communicate a grow­ ing awareness. We are merely trying to point. Scholars will probably correct me on this or that personal application of a scriptural or patristic pas­ sage: they may say that I have missed various linguis­ tic subtleties or necessary interpretations. While they may be technically correct, our purpose lies beyond * Emmaus House has many purposes. We are first of all an ecumenical community, a setting for sharing and human transformation. Our work also involves social transformation: the Emmaus Children’s School, house of hospitality, ministry of availability, draft counselling, problem clinics, educational projects to increase white social awareness, etc. We work for the renewal of the Church through a communications project for new communities and ministries; we publish The Bread is Rising (an occa­ sional magazine), Pipeline Newsletter, etc. Finally, we are a center for urban encounter, with some sixty conferences annually.


what scholarly exegesis can show. We do need com­ mentaries, dictionaries, concordances, and scholarly research; but they are useful as the background for a more important work, which, involves this pointing, this search for the “eternal life, which is to know you, the one God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) We point to this word, that symbol, those parables; they belong to us. They may be all we have to give, all the words we have. God often seems to say, “ You have only me, you have only my words” —and in times of one sort of slavery or another, these words have evoked a thrust to liberation. The broken and powerlesscommunity then is transformed into the community of faith, which remembers the future. The revelation of Jesus, the word of Jesus, comes to us through the experience of love, which is the experi­ ence of Jesus. We know that Jesus wrote nothing. Even the gospel, written by the first followers of Jesus, is only part of the rich meaning of Jesus Christ Through the Fathers, the saints, the martyrs, the councils, through every human meeting, the words of Jesus come alive, grow, and celebrate. The words of Jesus are always being written. It is always an unfinished work. We find this also in the experience of participating in a community which experiences Jesus in history. Within the community of the Church we share this 13


with the saints and apostles—with John and Paul, Augustine and Palamas, Francis and Teresa of Avila, Charles de Foucauld and Leo Tolstoy. The words of Jesus take on flesh in, the experience of faith which en­ abled them to leave family, defy courts of law, forcing them to run to the mountaintop and shout for joy. The words of Jesus also come to us through the stranger who may come to us only for a moment or a day. We share words, house, ourselves; we light a ciga­ rette or offer a cup of coffee. We feel this strongly at Emmaus, where our house of hospitality, with its open door and open table, welcomes about 3000 people each year. St, Paul tells us to love “ the appearing of Jesus Christ.” And he appears in unusual forms. There was even a man who once came to us—I’ll call him John Williams—and announced that he himself was Jesus Christ. He’s insane, we said. Then, as he returned to help us, we saw that this man really was living out the way of Jesus, emptying himself totally for others, living in voluntary poverty, doing the dirty work which no one else really wanted to do, and loving everyone. He was a “wanderer for Christ” , like Benedict Joseph Labre the beggar, or the fools for Christ in Russia—a kind of Christian theater of the absurd. Like Christ he was a pilgrim, with no place to lay his head. God as­ tounds us when he speaks through the mad, the social 14

outcast, the foolish: yet truth often seems to come rid­ ing up to Emmaus House on a donkey. Which makes me think that in a very real sense John Williams is right: he is Jesus Christ. The words of Jesus come to us through scenes of a life full of people and work, but they also come through prayer and meditation. At Emmaus, during the last year especially, a new way of searching was needed, more intense than before. In New York City, where noise and the fragmentation of life can lead to insanity, we feel the need for a daily period of medita­ tion, a time of total quiet and rest, where we can hear the words of Christ. It is in this confrontation between our vision and reality that the fragments are gathered into wholeness. Jesus Christ becomes then not so much an object of study as a catalyst for life. There may still be time left to reflect upon the fact that as a Church we have tended .to rely more upon the wisdom of secular powers than the wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount. Our present Christian com­ munity is not the church it ought to be. It does not fol­ low its leader, to become the Church of the oppressed. If this book has anything to say it is that the oppressed ought to come first in the Church which dares to fol­ low Jesus Christ If it suggests nothing more to you, let it say that money and property are meant to be com­ mon to everybody, and that he who shares power, 15

property, and money with the poor, only returns what rightfully belongs to the poor. I ana convinced that in spite of the complexity of life in our society what will save man is to serve another, several others, freely; and to form with them a creative and liberating com­ munity. I believe strongly that the direction is towards Christianity—which is not so much a set of truths as a new way of thinking and living. As Marcuse says, truth is not neutral. I Ho not find in any other faith such a profound reconciliation and synthesis of life. I say this with no exclusivity, but rather for human shar­ ing and solidarity: Christianity is basically a way of life rather than a religion. And this can be seen par­ ticularly in the meeting of Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, of contemplation and action, the cosmic and the concrete. Christianity is a matter of seeking the fullest life— which implies knowing how to die, so as to be reborn in a way which liberates. This is the art of giving one’s life for one’s brothers, the art of sharing in worship with one’s whole body, with one’s whole being, in the certainty that we are playing the “game of God”, the interiorized festival of life. As I try to write now, two children are chasing our dog across the room, Nanette and Alberto are banging away at typewriters, and someone is in the corner talk­ ing to two Young Lords, who want to use our office 16

space. Pat, our summer nun-worker, Is talking over the phone with Jack, our business manager, trying to work up a few dollars for postage. There’s a new storefront center to be rented, for our education program, and we may need someone to do part-time secretarial work to help answer our large volume of mail. We may be a free inn by the roadside, but bills have to be paid even there. I am hopeful that QUOTATIONS FROM CHAIRMAN JESUS will provoke in some the urge to become fellow-travellers with Christ. May the Holy Spirit be present with the words of Jesus,-with each of you as you read them. September, 1969 DAVID KIRK EMMAUS HOUSE 241 East 116 Street New York City


THE WAY OF JESUS: SHALOM GoH’s purpose Is to bring In the age of shalom, which implies not only peace, but all aspects of i a restored and whole human condition: truth, community, wholeness, communication, and jus­ tice. Shalom


G od’s


Our task is to set up and recognize signs of Shalom in the world. They may appear in church or in secular form, but always in the form of servants

Gideon built an altar to the Lord in that place, and he called it “ The Lord is peace.” Judges 6:24 Salvation is surely at hand for those who fear him, and glory will live in our land. Long love and faithfulness will meet each other, righteousness and peace will kiss. . . ' Psalm 85:9-11 ' 18


Happy are those who live in your house, always singing your praise! Psalm 84:4 Shalom


j u s t ic e

Pay attention to the man without blame, the upright man. The only real future belongs to the man of peace. Psalm 37:37 They have taken the wounds of my people lightly; they say, “peace, peace,” when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14 God’s peace, which is far beyond all human under­ standing, will keep your hearts and your minds safe in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7 Jesu s



it s e l f

Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men in whom God is pleased. Luke 2:14 God has raised our Lord Jesus from the dead. He is the great shepherd of all the sheep, because of his death, which seals the eternal covenant. May he, the 19

God of peace, give you everything good which you need to do his will; may he do what pleases him in us. Hebrews 13:20-21 God has not called us to be disorderly; he has called us to be peaceful. I Corinthians 14:33 God’s kingdom. . . g. is of the righteousness and peace and joy which are given by the Holy Spirit.. . . So we must always aim at the things which bring peace, which help us strengthen one another. Romans 14:17,19 Try to be at peace with everyone. Try to live a holy life. No one will see the Lord without these things. Hebrews 12:14 I leave peace with you. I give you my own peace. I do not give this to you as the world does. You should not be upset or anxious; do not be afraid. John 14:27 W




How is the message going to be preached, if the mes­ sengers aren’t sent out? Scripture says, “The coming of the people who bring good news is wonderful!” Romans 10:15


An ethical proclamation can only be prophetic? that is to say, the saying and doing of the truth of the Shalom reality. A prophecy in this sense can be concerned with the spending of our money in the modern world. It can be concerned with the way we administer justice, with our realization that Shalom, in trade, is an all or nothing proposition. The prophecy can direct itself to the gigantic questions brought up by the meeting of world cultures, and with the immeasur­ able problems of the worldys poor. It can be political prophecy: the proclamation of Shalom against diplomatic rigidity, and cunning tricks full of evil. And it is equally concerned with micro-relationships, of family and marriage situations (even up to, and including, homosexuality) , It is the proclamation of the single validating reality of the Lord, of the single valid humanity for the Lord. W


l iv e

S h a l o m :] S h a l o m


a l ie n a t io n

We used to be the enemies of God. But through the death of his Son God has made us his friends. We are God’s friends now—and now how much more will Christ’s life save us! Romans 5:10-11 Through Christ God changed us from enemies into his friends. He has given us the work of making others his friends, too. This is our message: God made friends of all men through Christ. God did not hold their sins against them; he has given us the message of the way he makes them his friends. We are speaking for Christ as though God himself were imploring you through 21

us: because of Christ, we beg you, allow God to change you from enemies to friends, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 S h a l o m is

c o m m u n it y

Their time was spent learning from the apostles. They took part in the common fellowship and shared in the means of fellowship, and the prayers. Acts 2:42 Those who work for peace are happy; God will call them his sons. Matthew 5:9 The peace which Christ gives you will be the judge in your hearts. God has called you to this peace in one body, all of you together. Live thankfully. Colossians3:15 W e g iv e S h a l o m Service— that is, employment in the service of the Kingdom — involves our whole heart, soul, and understanding. It is directed to every situation and to every human being. It is directed to the secret of the history of heaven and earth: God’s Shalom. '

The Son of Man will come as a king. . . all the earth’s people will be gathered before him, and he will divide


them into two groups . . . The King will say to the people on his right, “You are made happy in my Father. Come receive the kingdom which has been ready and waiting for you ever since the world was made. I was hungry, and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; when I was a stranger you took me in, and when I had no clothes you gave me something to wear. When I was sick you nursed me, when I was in jail you visited me,” The righteous will ask him, “ When did we see you hungry and feed you, or give you something to drink when you were thirsty? When did we take you into our homes or clothe you? When did we nurse you or visit you in jail?” And the King will answer, “ Whenever you helped one of my poorest brothers, you helped me.” Matthew 25:31-40 Jesus saw that a large crowd was coming to him, so he turned to Philip: “Where will we buy enough food to feed everyone here?” (He was really watching Philip’s reaction; he knew what he would do.) Philip answered him, “ It wonld take forty Hollars just to give, each of them a scrap!” Another Hisciple, Andrew (who was Simon Peter’s brother) said, “A boy here has five bar­ ley loaves and a couple of fish. But with all of these people what good will they be?” Jesus told them, “Ask 23

everybody to sit down.” Since there was a lot of grass there everyone did—there were above five thousand people, all told. Jesus took the bread and gave thanks to God. He distributed it to the seated crowd. He did the same thing with the fish—and everyone had as much as he wanted! When everyone finished eating Jesus said to his disciples, “Get the left-overs • . . we wouldn’t want to be wasteful.55 They filled twelve bas­ kets with the left-overs from the five loaves. John 6:5-13 The miracle which Christ works here is worked hands— even though these hands have little to appears to be and is rather poor: the estimation (forty dollars), and Andrew9s offer (five loaves fishes) don3t amount to much. The initiative lies Lord, who knew all along what he would do.

with our offer! It of Philip and two with the

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES You used to be told, “Love your friends and hate your enemies.5’ But I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for those who use you badly.55 Matthew 5:43-44 I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. John 13:34 24

A person who says, “ I love God” , and hates his brother, lives a lie. A man who does not love his brother, whom he can see, certainly can’t love God, whom he has not seen. . I John 4:20 Do not be in anyone’s debt. The only debt you should have is your obligation to love one another. Whoever loves all others has obeyed the whole law. Romans 13:8-10 W



sh o u ld



e n e m ie s

Do for other people what you would like them to 3o for you. This is the real meaning of the law Moses gave you, and what the prophets taught you. Matthew 7:12 -_ Your Father in heaven makes his sun shine on bad and good people equally, and the rain falls for both the right and the wrong. Why do you expect a reward from God, if the only people you love are the people who love you? Even tax-collectors do that. And if you are willing to talk only to people you like, what’s un­ usual about that? Non-believers do the same thing. Matthew 5:45-47 Love your enemies. Do good to them. Lend freely— and don’t expect to get anything back! This is your 25

great reward: you will be sons of the most high Go3. He is good to the ungrateful, he is good to the wicked —be merciful, as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36 T

h is




You are to be perfect, as your Father in heaven is per­ fect. Matthew 5:48 Exam ples

If a man hits you on one side of your face, offer him the other side as well. If a man takesyour coat, give him your jacket too. Luke 6:29 If a person forces you to walk one mile, walk two miles with him. Matthew 5:41 * I WAR AND PEACE \ T




w ar

This sort of behavior comes from the worst part of us: immorality. . . quarreling, contention, envy, rage, am­ bition and greed, intrigues between factions, jealousys ' 26

. . . . But the harvest given by the Spirit is love, joy, peace.. . . Galatians 5:19-20, 22 What causes war? What causes your fights? It is the passion at war in your body, isn’t it? You desire what you do not have, so you kill. You want something and know of no way to get it, so you fight and wage war. James 4:1-2 H





St a t e

There is no equality between God and Caesar. Everything belongs to God; anything given to Caesar is given pro­ visionally, not absolutely.

“ Show me a coin: whose image and inscription does it have?” “Caesar’s” , they answered. “Then give Caesar the things that are his; give God the things that are God’s.” Luke 20:24-25 Spme Pharisees said to him, “ You’d better leave this place—Herod wants to kill you.” Jesus answered them, “ Go tell that fo x . . . I will finish my work on the third day.” Luke 13:31-32 27

He said to them, “ The kings of this world lord it over their people. They give themselves the title, ‘benefac­ tor’,” Luke 22:25 T




state t a x




sam e


p r o s t it u t e

Jesus said to them, “I tell you: tax collectors and prostitutes will go to the Kingdom of heaven before you do.” Matthew 21:31 Which means, of course, that both can be forgiven— despite the wrongness of what they do. But they must also allow their lives to be changed. St. Gregory points out that after the death of Jesus Peter returned to the fishing trade; but Matthew, a tax-collector, did not go back to his work. The reason for this, says Gregory, is that '‘many trades cannot be practised without sin ” C

h r is t

d is a r m s


pow ers

God created everything through him . . . including spiritual forces, and rulers, and authority . . .' Colossians 1:16 Before now, before you knew God, you were enslaved by beings who are not gods. Galatians 4:8 28

Christ liberated himself on the cross from the power of those who rule the spirit, from authority. Colossians 2:15 The powers can be structures of earthly existence— the state, class, national interest, etc.— which become our gods.


h r is t ia n s n o r m a l l y f o l l o w

t h e g o v e r n in g a u


t h o r it y

You should obey authority, not only because of the anger of God, but simply because it is right. Romans 13:5 Je su s of


is t h e s o l e s o u r c e a n d ju d g e o f t h e a c t io n

h r is t ia n s

Salvation comes through him alone. There is no one else anywhere—God has not given us the name of anyone but him—who can save us. Acts 4:12 WAR RESISTANCE


Jesus told him, “Put down your sword. Everyone who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26:52 29

Exam ples


Peter and John were arrested and imprisoned, but later escaped and resumed what was obviously illegal.

Peter and John answered them, “You decide what is better in the sight of God: to obey him or to obey you. We cannot stop talking about the things we have seen and heard*” Acts 4:19-20 I # They brought them before the police and said, “These outside agitators are troublemakers. The stuff they’re teaching is un-American and illegal.” See Acts 16:20-21 _

Peter and the rest of the apostles answered, “We have to obey God, not men.” Acts 5:29 These men have turned the whole world upside-down, and now they have come to our city. They’re staying at Jason’s place. They are breaking all of the Em­ peror’s laws, and they say that there is another king, called Jesus! * Acts 17:6-7 I don’t care at all about being judged by you or by any standard men care about. I don’t even judge 30 ,

myself. Even the fact that my conscience doesn’t accuse me is not enough to prove my innocence. The one who truly judges me is the Lord. So before the time comes do not judge anyone. That time of final judgment is the day when the Lord comes. He will light up the darkness in men, exposing the secrets of their hearts. And it is then that each man will receive the praise he really deserves, from God. 1 Cor. 4:3-5 I am a soldier of Christ. I am not allowed to fight. St. Martin of Tours W

a y s o f r e s is t in g

Listen to me: I send you out like sheep—to a pack of wolves! You must be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16 He left them; it was a stone’s throw from where they were. And he prayed. Luke 22:41 Concern for whatever relative justice can emerge from the power struggles of modern life is no excuse for resort to war and violence. Nonviolent resistance offers the Christian the opportunity to express his concern for justice, without the disadvantages of the war system. Here, unlike the practice


of the war system, only those who will may "enlist." There is no conscription. Here is the opportunity to resist tyranny and oppression at the risk of one’s own life, rather than the life of another. Here the element of personal choice is safe­ guarded, so that the Christian emphasis on personal responsi­ bility is maintained.

ON CONFORMITY TO THE STANDARDS OF SOCIETY So, my brothers, I appeal to you in this way because of God’s great mercy to us all: offer yourselves up as living sacrifices to God, dedicated to serving him and pleasing him. This is the real worship which you should offer him. Do not try to conform your way of living with the standards of this world. Instead, let God transform you inwardly; this involves a radical change of mind, in which you will know the will of God, and what is good and pleasing and perfect in his sight. Romans 12:1-2 Blessed are you, when men hate and reject you, and call you evil, because of the Son of Man! When that happens rejoice, dance—there is a great reward for you in heaven. Remember, their forefathers did the same thing to the prophets . . . But how terrible when 32

everyone is full of praise for you! That’s the way their forefathers responded to the false prophets. Luke 6:22-23, 26 I have told you these things to keep you from falling away. They will throw you out of the churches—in fact, there will come a time when they will think that killing you is doing God a favor! They will do this because they do not know my Father, or me. John 16: 1-3__________ The Church functions as critic in society, helping to liberate it, helping it to become fully itself, to become what it can be.m ---------- -~ ^ ^

WE NEED FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION Signs that millions of us are drastically unreconciled are abundant: unsatisfied absorption with sex, mounting statistics of alcoholism, heartlessness and no heroism in our warmaking, riots and delinquency and racism in city and coun­ try, teen-age cynicism, the unfulfilled hungers sung out in popular songs. Whether or not we accept this description today, these are in traditional Christian terms all evidences of “ the need for conversion ”

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have hurt us. Matthew 6:12 33 ’

They nailed him to a cross . . . and Jesus said, “Father, forgive them—they do not know what they are doing.5* Luke 23:33-34 You hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. So do not prefer some people over others. If a man wearing gold and fine clothes comes to your gathering, and a poor man dressed shabbily comes in too, and you pay attention to the one in fine clothes, telling him, “ Oh, please take this seat!” while you tell the poor man, “Stand over there” or “Sit at my feet” —haven’t you been making distinctions among yourselves? Then aren’t you judges with evil thoughts? Listen, beloved brothers: isn’t it true that God has chosen poor people in the world to be rich in faith, inheritors of the kingdom he promises to those who love him? You have dishonored the poor man. After all, isn’t it the rich who oppress you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who blaspheme the honorable name you have been given? James 2:1-7 If a brother or sister needs clothes or enough food to get through the day, and one of you says, “ Go in peace—be warm, be full” without giving them what 34

they need, what good is it? Faith by itself, without doing something about it, is a dead thing. James 2:15-17 "v

Jesus said to them, “ If a man has two coats, he should give one to the man who doesn’t have one. If a person has food, he should (do the same thing.” ~ Luke 3:11 Peter asked him, “ Master, how often must I let my brother hurt me and continue to forgive him? As often as seven times?” Jesus answered him, “ I won’t say seven times—I’ll say seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22 You can compare the Kingdom of heaven to a king, who wanted to settle all the accounts he had with his servants. He began the reckoning, and one man was brought up to him who owed millions. Because he couldn’t pay the king ordered him to be sold as a slave, along with his wife and children and everything he owned. The servant fell on his knees. “ Please Lord,” he begged; “be patient with me—I’ll pay everything back.” The king forgave him the debt, because he felt sorry for him. He ordered him to be released. But when the servant left the palace he met another servant, who owed him a few dollars. Taking 35

him by the throat he said, “ Pay me what you owe me.” The other servant fell down and pleaded: “Be patient—I’ll pay you.” But he refused and put his fellow servant in prison till the debt was paid. The other servants saw what had happened, and in their "distress they reported the encounter to their lord. His lord called the first servant “You wicked servant!” he said, “I forgave you everything because you begged me. Shouldn’t you have been merciful to your fellow servant, the way I was merciful to you?” And the lord angrily handed him over to the jailers.. . . My heav­ enly Father will do the same to you, if you do not forgive your brother from the bottom of your heart Matthew 18:23-35 Do not ju3ge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will escape being condemned. For­ give, and you will be forgiven. Give freely, and it will be given to you in good measure—pressed down, shaken up, spilling over into your lap! What you give will be what you get back. Luke 6:37-38 ‘ Her sins are many, and they are forgiven because she has loved much. But someone who is forgiven little, loves little. Luke 7:47 36

THE WAY OF JESUS: COMMUNAL CHANGE THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: MANIFESTO OF PERSONHOOD Jesus9 sermon challenges point by point the features of church and state institutional life and presents a picture of a new form of human responsibility. The revolution has four aspects: (1) the old institutional orders lose their absolute character; (2) a new reality of personhood transcends present order; (3) new sources of strength and relationships replace the established order; man confronted with God9 his brother, and himself is led to respond to this challenge; (4) social action gets a new perspective: only when nothing is received in return is a gift a gift. This process of personali­ zation moves towards changing institutions at their founda­ tions. (See Matthew 7:24-27.) The Christian3s radical approach will oppose the form and shape of this society, but this opposition (poor in spirit, persecuted, etc.) is full of promise: he can count on the kingdom. The sermon is the ethic of the New Man in Christ. Like Alice through the Looking Glass, that ethic is upside down.


He saw the crowHs and went up on the mountain. When he sat down his disciples came to him. He spoke to them; this was his teaching: “ Happy are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Happy are those who mourn: they will be comforted. Happy are the humble people: they will inherit the whole world. Happy are those who hunger and thirst after justice: they will be satisfied. Happy are the merciful: they will receive mercy. Happy are the pure in heart: they will see God. Happy are those who make peace: God will call them his sons. Happy are you when men curse and persecute you, and tell all kinds of lies about you, because of me. Be joyful and happy: your reward is great in heaven. Remem­ ber this is the way they treated the prophets who went , before you.

“You are the salt of the earth. But If the salt loses its taste, how will the taste be restored? It isn’t good for anything. It’s thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can’t be hidden; men don’t light a lamp to put it under a basket—they place it on a stand where it can give light to the whole house. Let your own light shine 38

before men, so that seeing your good works they will give the glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:1-16



p r o t e c t io n

o f l if e

You have heard it said that you must not kill, and whoever kills will be brought before the judge. But I say, anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged . . . First be reconciled with your brother, then offer your gift at the altar. Matthew 5:21-24




w ord

You have heard it said that you must not swear falsely, but must perform before God everything that you swore you would do. But I say, do not swear at all. Let what you say be simply “yes”, or “ no” . Anything be­ yond that comes from evil. Matthew 5:33-37


p u n is h m e n t

They used to say “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” . But I tell you, do not resist one who is evil. Instead, if he strikes you on the right cheek, offer him the left. If he takes your coat, let him have your jacket as well. If he forces you to walk one mile, walk two. Matthew 5:38-41



am ong

m embers






m u n it y

You know they used to say, “Love your neighbor, hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies; pray for those who use you badly. . . . . If you love only those who love you, how will you be rewarded? Even tax collectors Ho that much. And if you salute only your brothers, how are you different from other people? Matthew 5:43-44, 46-47



u n iv e r s a l



ju d g em en t

Do not judge, or you will be judged. The way you have judged others is the way you will be judged. Whatever you have given, you will receive. Matthew 7:1-2 40

POVERTY AND AFFLUENCE The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the Evil Spirit. 1 John 3:8 Whatever you would wish men to do for you, do the same for them—this is what the law and the prophets tell you. Matthew 7-12 T


exam ple of

Je su


s o l id a r it y w i t h




His mother praises the God of the poor: My soul grows with the Lord; my spirit is joyful in God, my savior; for he sees the low place of his handmaiden . . . He has shown the strength of his arm, scattering the proud and overthrowing the mighty powers; he exalts the lowly . . . Luke 1:46-48, 51-53 H e w a s born poor, a refu g ee: . Very much like a Puerto Rican in East Harlem; his country, like ancient Israel, is controlled by a foreign power.

She gave birth to her first son and wrapped him up and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

One of the Lord’s angels appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you because Herod is about to search out the child to kill him.” So Joseph got up and took the child and his mother with him. It was under cover of night, and they departed for Egypt. Matthew 2:13-14 H

e w as



w o r k in g


When he went into his own region he taught in the synagogue, which astonished them. They said, “Where did this man get all this wisdom and the power to work miracles? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t Mary his mother?” Matthew 13:54-55 He

had no perm anent h o m e


Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes; birds have nests. But the Son of man has nowhere to lie down.” Matthew 8:20 H

is m is s i o n


i t w a s a m o n g t h e o u t c a s t s , t o f in d


Tax collectors and sinners pressed in close to hear him. The Pharisees and scribes grumbled, saying, “ This fellow receives sinners—he even shares their meals!” So Jesus told them this parable: .42

“Is there anyone here who—even if he had a lot of children—would not leave them at home, if one of them were missing? Wouldn’t you contact the police, and rush around frantically, organizing search parties until the whole city was aroused to the fact that your child was lost? Then wouldn’t he look even more, himself? And when the child was found, don’t you think you would rejoice with your friends and neigh­ bors and thousand of others? What was lost has been found! I tell you, this is the way it is: there will be more joy in heaven over one sinful person who changes, than over ninety-nine good people who really don’t need to change.” See Luke 15:1-7 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me: he calls me out, to tell captives of their release, to tell the blind of their sight, to liberate the oppressed—to tell of the time when the Lord frees his people! Luke 4:18-19 For your sake he became poor, so that, through his poverty, you might become rich * .. This is my advice . . . I do not mean that others should have it easy while you carry all the load. But as a matter of equality, what you have in abundance should supply 43 ’

what they need, so that they may supply your need from their abundance. This way there can be equality. 2 Corinthians 8:9-10, 13-14 GO AND DO LIKEWISE! Luke 10:37 He w a s

id e n tifie d w i t h t h e s la v e s

If a slave is killed . . . the master of the slave will receive thirty pieces of silver. Exodus 21:32 Judas Iscariot went to 'the chief priests and asked, “If I deliver him to you, what will you give me?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-15 He did not count equality with God as something to be held, but emptied himself. He became a servant. He was bom as a man; and as a man he was humble and obedient—even to the point of death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8 Je su s


h u m a n is t

When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself. John 12:32 44

Men are so much more valuable than property! See Matthew 12:12 JESUS REMAINED FREE FOR EVERY MAN AND EVERY SITUATION In a sense, Jesus worked both within the old structures and outside of them, without being co-opted. His solidarity was with the poor, but he valued the personhood of the rich.

He was passing through Jericho, anH a man named Zacchaeus (who was a chief tax-collector, and rich) tried to see who Jesus was. But he couldn’t: the crowd was in the way, and he was short. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him—Jesus was supposed to pass that way. When Jesus came to the spot he looked up and called, “ Zacchaeus, hurry up; climb down. I have to stay at your house today.” So Zacchaeus climbed down and received him happily. Now when the crowd saw all this they muttered, “He’s going to be the guest of a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood and told the Lord, “ Look, Lord; I will give away half of what I own to the poor. And if I have ever cheated anyone, I will repay four times as much.” Jesus said to him, “Salvation has come to this house today . . . The Son of man has come to search out and save the lost ones.” Luke 19:1-10 45

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was one of the rulers of the Jews. He came to see Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God himself. No one could do these things unless God were with him.” John 3:1-2 Jesus9 teaching3 his willingness to speak to anyone, whether oppressor or oppressed, no doubt offends those who insist on justice and nothing more. Genuine justice is more complex than two plus two equals four. Justice also has ultimate con­ cerns.

THE DANGERS OF WEALTH Do not collect wealth for yourself on earth, where moth and rust ruin and thieves can steal it. Instead store your wealth in heaven. There no moth or rust can ruin it, no thief can steal it. Where your treasure is, your heart will be. Matthew 6:19-21 He said to them, “A man once gave a banquet and invited many people. At the proper time he sent his servant to tell those who were invited, “Come; every­ thing is ready.” But every one of them began to make excuses. The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I have -to go out and inspect it. Please send my 46

regrets.” Another man said, “ I’ve bought five yoke of oxen; I must go and examine them. Tell the host I’m sorry.” Another said, “ I have just been married; obviously, I can’t attend.” Luke 14:16-20 Somebody in the crowd said to him, “ Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But Jesus answered, “Who made me judge or divider over you?” Then he said to the crowd, “Watch out, beware of covetousness. A man’s life isn’t made up of how much he owns.” Luke 12:13-15 , How terrible for you rich people! You have already received all the comfort you will get. Luke 6:24 Come now, all you rich—weep and lament, because misery is coming your way. Your riches are rotten, your clothes are eaten by moths. Your gold and silver are covered in rust, and their rust will be held as evidence against you and will eat your flesh like flame. Your treasure is stored, but stored only for the end of everything. Look: the wages which you withheld fraudulently from the workers who took care of your fields cry out. The cries of the harvesters reach the 47

ears of the Lord of hosts. You live on earth so lavishly, pleasing yourselves; but you have fattened your hearts for the slaughtering day. You have condemned and killed the righteous man, and he does not resist you. James 5:1-6 He hears the word of God, but the cares of the world and the delight he has in wealth choke the word: it does not grow. Matthew 13:22. Jesus said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for the rich to come into God’s kingdom!” His words amazed the disciples. But Jesus said again, “ Children, how difficult it is for people who trust in riches to come into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Now they were really astonished. “Who can be saved, then?” they asked. He answered, “ It is impossible for men, but not for God. All things are possible with God.” Mark 10:23-27 W

h e n w e do h a v e l u x u r y it s h o u l d b e u s e d f o r

sh ared

jo y.

A woman came up to him, carrying a jar made of alabaster and filled with expensive ointment. She 48

poured it over his head, anointing him as he sat at a table. When his disciples saw this they were angry, “How wasteful!” they said. “That ointment could have been sold for a lot of money; we could have given the money to the poor.” Jesus was aware of their anger. He said to them, “ Why trouble the woman? She has done something beautiful for me . . . Wherever in the world the good news is preached, what she has done will be told in her memory.” Matthew 26:7-10, 13 G

od’ s ju d g e m e n t o n t h e u n c h a n g in g a f f l u e n t

The judgement of the world is now. The ruler of this world will be cast out now. John 12:31 It was for judgement that I came into the world. , John 9:39 He has filled the hungry; he has sent the rich away empty. Luke 1:53 R

e c o n c il ia t io n


r e n u n c ia t io n




Distribution of wealth and power is a matter of justice. Justice must be built into social structures. But without love,


the just society perishes. W e need compassion— we need to learn how to suffer with others. A truly just society is one where love also exists.

If anyone has property and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart to him, how can God’s love be in him? 1 John 3:17 Give to the man who begs from you. Do not refuse a person who asks to borrow something. Matthew 5:42 Tell the rich not to be proud. Tell them not to hope for riches (which are, after all, uncertain). They must set their hopes on God. He gives us, generously, every­ thing for our enjoyment. They must do good, and be rich in good works, generous, free with what they have. This way they will build themselves a good foundation for the future, a place from which they can take hold of the life which is the only real life there is. 1 Timotljy 6:17-19 I have shown you that one must help the weak by working. Remember the words of Jesus. He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 50

It will go badly for you Pharisees . . . You neglect justice, you ignore the love of God. Luke 11:42 T

h e c o s t o f d is c ip l e s h ip

Bonhoeffer tells us that following Jesus means a radical decision, one which involves a total break with the past. Everything must make way for the ultimate reality; and this can cost a man his life.

If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself. He must take up his cross every day and follow me. Luke 9:23 As they traveled along the road a man said to Jesus, “ I’ll follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered, “ The foxes have dens, birds have nests. The Son of man has nowhere to lie down.” He told another man, “Follow me.” But he answered, “First, Lord, I must attend my father’s funeral.” Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury their dead: what you should do is go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Somebody else said, “ I will follow you, Lord; but first let me say goodbye to the people at home.” Jesus answered, “Nobody who starts this work and looks back is deserving of the kingdom of God.” ' Luke 9:57-62

F o r g iv e n e s s


s e r v in g


“ There was a man who had two "debtors. One owed five hundred dollars and the other owed fifty dollars. When they were unable to pay he forgave them both. Now which will love him more?” Simon answered, “ I guess it would be the one who owed more.” “Right,” Jesus answered. Then he turned toward the woman and told Simon, “See this woman? When I came into your house you didn’t give me any water to wash my feet. But she has bathed my feet with her tears and wiped them withlier hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss; but ever since I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet. . . I tell you, her sins—and she has a lot of them—are forgiven. She has loved much. But when a person is forgiven little, he loves little.” Luke 7:41-47 Property


w ealth




God commanded all things to be produced so that sustenance should be common to all, and that the earth should be a sort of common property for all men. Nature created common property. Greed has created private property. As long as we try to increase our wealth, accumulate money, or occupy lands as “ ours” , we destroy the essential nature of justice and lose the spirit of common life. How can a man be just who snatches from another what the other needs for himself?

The man who has two coats must share with the man 52

who has none; the man who has food must do the same thing. Luke 3:11 G

iv e h a l f o f w h a t y o u o w n

to t h e poor

When they saw Jesus going to Zacchaeus5 house, they said, “He is the guest of a sinner. Zacchaeus said to the Lord, “Look, Lord—I will give half of what I own to the poor; if I have taken anything from any man wrongfully, I will pay it back four times over.” And Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today.” Luke 19:7-9 Or

t a k e a m o r e r a d ic a l s t e p : g iv e a l l y o u h a v e

He sat down and hatched people putting money into the Temple collection. Many of the rich gave large sums of money. A poor widow came; she put in a penny. Jesus called his disciples to him. “The truth is this/ 5 he said; “this poor widow has given more than everyone else. What the others gave out of an abun­ dance. But she is poor, and she gave everything she had, her whole living.” Mark 12:41-44 . He was about to leave on his journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and asked, “Good teacher, what do I have to do to win eternal life?” Jesus said, 53

“ Why Ho you call me good? Only God is good. You know the commandments: do not kill, do not commit adultery, 'do not steal, do not lie or cheat another, honor your parents.” The man answered, “ Teacher, I have observed those commandments from my youth.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. He said, “There is one thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have, give it to the poor; that way you will have your treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” But when Jesus said this the young man’s face fell. He went away sadly, because he owned much. Mark 10:17-22



r e p a r a t io n s


m in o r it ie s





If I have taken anything from any man wrongfully, I will pay it back four times over. Luke 19:8

If you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift before the altar and go; be reconciled with your brother, and then offer your gift. Make friends quickly with the one who accuses you, or you will be judged . . . Matthew 5:23-25 54

GIVE YOURSELF This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. And" the greatest love a man can show for his friends is to give up his life, for them. John 15:12-13 T



Black Pa n th e r

A canon lawyer stood up to test him. “ Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to achieve eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “You tell me: what is written in the law? What do you see there?” The canon lawyer answered, “Love God with all your soul, strength, and mind; love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said, “ That’s right. Do this and you will have life.” But the canon lawyer wanted to justify himself; he said, “ Tell me: who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going from Brooklyn to Harlem. A gang of boys on a late night subway robbed and beat him, took his coat and left him half dead at the 96th street station. Now, it so happened that a priest was going uptown on the sub­ way, and he saw the man lying there, bleeding, half rdead. But the train was coming and he rushed past. He had a meeting at eight o’clock and he was already late. Later a Presbyterian layman, a pillar of his church, passed through the turnstyle and saw the 55

bleeding man, but he merely mumbled, ‘Why don’t the police clear these drunks out?5 Later a young man, a member of the Black Panther party, entered the subway station and saw the wounded man. When he saw him—a person, not a thing—he had compassion, for he had known man’s brutality to man. He went over and wrapped his coat around the man’s wounds. Then he took him out of the subway and into a hotel, where he took care of him. The next day he gave the hotel manager twenty dollars and said, ‘Look after this man; the money should take care of everything. But if he needs more I’ll repay you when I come back in three days/ -■ “Now which of these three men proved a neighbor and a brother to the man who had been brutally beaten?” The canon lawyer shyly admitted, “The black man—the one who showed concern.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” See Luke 10:25-37 The Black Panther replaces the Samaritan. The testimony of the Panthers is no more acceptable today than that of the Samaritans was then. The Panther in this story gives more than ordinary charity; it is a radical love.


SOLIDARITY WITH THE OPPRESSED, NOT THE OPPRESSOR While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of itj where there is a man in prison, I am not free. — Eugene Debs

If a man wearing gold and fine clothes comes into your gathering, and a poor man dressed shabbily comes in too, and you pay attention to the one in fine clothes, telling him, “Oh, please take this seat!” while you tell the poor man, “Stand over there,” or “ Sit at my feet”—haven’t you been making distinctions among yourselves? Then aren’t you judges with evil thoughts? Listen, beloved brothers: isn’t it true that God has chosen poor people in the world to be rich in faith, inheritors of the kingdom he promises to those who love him? You have dishonored the poor man. After all, isn’t it the rich who oppress you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who blaspheme the honorable name you have been given? James 2:1-7 “Depart from me; you are cursed . . . because I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger; 57

you didn’t welcome me; naked, ancf you gave me no clothes; sick and in jail, and you didn’t visit me.” Then they will ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked, or sick and in jail; when 'did we refuse to help you?” Then he will tell them, “ The truth I tell you is this: as long as you failed to do it to the least of these human beings, you failed to do it for me.” And they will go to eternal punish­ ment • .. Matthew 25:41-46 This is the only specific revelation of judgement given to us.


ia k o n ia :


iv e

S e r v ic e

The twelve apostles gathered the community of the disciples and said, “We should not have to give up preaching the word of God to serve in distributing food. So, brothers, choose seven good men from your company, men full of the Spirit, wise men; we will appoint them to this duty. We will ourselves be given over to prayer and the service of the word.” Everyone was pleased by this. . . . They set the men before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. And God’s word grew. The number of disciples in­ creased greatly . . . ' Acts 6:2-5 58

This service— helping at the tables for the poor— has been clericalized into service at the liturgical altar.

BE JUST The Lord said, “ Who is the faithful and wise servant? Who will his master set over the household, to give them what they need at the right time? The servant whom his master finds doing this when he comes is a happy man. I tell you, the master will set him over everything he owns. But if the servant says to himself, “ My master is a long time getting here,” and begins to beat the male and female servants, and eat glutton­ ously and get drunk; then the master will come on an unexpected day, at an unexpected hour. And he will punish the servant, putting him with the unfaithful. And the servant who knew what the master wanted, but did not do his will, shall be beaten severely . . . Luke 12:42-47 When one of you has a complaint to make against his brother, how can he be so daring as to go before un­ believers for the judgement, instead of the faithful? Don’t you know that the faithful will judge the world? And if you are the ones who will judge the whole world, can’t you take care of trivial disagreements? . . . To have any lawsuits among you is a defeat. Isn’t it better to suffer wrong or be defrauded? 1 Corinthians 6:1-2, 7 59

GIVE HOSPITALITY TO THOSE IN NEED I was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, sick, in jail, and you welcomed me. What you have done for the least human being, you have done for me. See Matthew 25:35-40 He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority to cast out demons and cure the ill. He sent them out to preach the reign of God and to heal men. He told them, “Don’t take anything with you for your trip; no staff, bag, food, or money; don’t carry two coats. Stay in whatever house you enter; leave from the same place. And wherever they do not receive you, shake the dust of that town from your feet: it will be a sign against them.” They left, and went through the villages, preaching the good news and healing in every town. Luke 9:1-6 I beg you, brothers, be the way I am, because I have become what you are. You have not done anything bad to me: you know it was because of illness that I preached the good news to you in the first place, and even though it was hard to put up with me, the way I was, you didn’t scorn me or reject me; instead, you accepted me as one of God’s messengers . . . in fact, 60

you received me as you would have received Jesus Christ! Galatians 4:12-14 Love one another in a brotherly way, compete with one another in showing honor. Don’t lose your zeal: glow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Be joyful in your hope, be patient when times are bad, pray constantly. Give the faithful whatever they need; practice hospi­ tality. Romans 12:10-13 A bishop must be beyond criticism . . . he must be hospitable . . . I Timothy 3:2 S y m b o l ic

w ays to w elcom e


Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought them bread and wine. He was a priest of God most high. Genesis 14:18 A woman of the city (she was known to be a sinner)’, when she learned that he was in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar full of ointment; and she stood behind him; weeping at his feet she wet them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. She kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Luke 7:37-39 61

Whoever gives one of these even a cup of cold water will not lose his reward. Matthew 10:42 HOW TO GIVE A DINNER PARTY When Jesus noticed that some of the guests were choosing the best places he told them this parable: “ When someone invites you to a wedding feast, don’t sit down in the best place, because maybe somebody more important has been invited; and then your host, who invited both of you, would have to tell you, ‘Let him have that place.’ Then you would be ashamed, and you would go sit in the lowest place. Instead, when you’ve been invited, go sit in the least important place. Then your host will come and tell you, ‘Gome up to a better place, friend.’ This will give you honor in front of the other guests. Because everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who is humble will be lifted up to a higher place.” Then Jeaus told his host, “When you are host at a meal, don’t invite your friends or brothers or rich re­ latives or rich neighbors; they’ll invite you back; you’ll be paid back for what you have done. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. You will 62

be blessed: they are not able to pay you back. When the good rise from the dead God will pay you back.” . Luke 14:7-14 C

h i l d r e n d ie , d o g s l iv e i n


It is not fair to throw the children’s bread to the dogs. Matthew 15:26 C



r ic h

l o c a l it ie s

sh ared

w it h


We want to tell you, brothers, about God’s grace as it has been shown in the Macedonian churches. Be­ cause even though they were going through hard times, their great joy and their poverty have over­ flowed in rich generosity on their part. They gave as much as they could—I can tell you that!—and even more than they could, freely. They asked us sincerely to allow them to help in the relief of the faithful. They did not do what we expected. First they gave them­ selves to God, and then to us, because God willed it. . 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 PRACTICE CHRISTIAN COMMUNISM All the believers were together. They owned every­ thing in common, and sold all their possessions and 63

goods, distributing them to everyone, wherever needed. They attended the temple together daily, and broke bread in their homes. They ate happily, with generous hearts. Acts 2:43-46 The community of believers shared one heart and soul. No one said that anything he possessed was his own. They had everything in common. The apostles gave powerful testimony to the resurrection of Jesus, and all of them lived in grace. No one of them was poor, be­ cause whoever owned houses or land sold them, brought the money to the apostles, and in that way anyone in need was given what he needed. Acts 4:32-35 How TO BE A H UM AN RACIST I am not in the world any longer. But they are in the world. I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me . • . keep them that they may be one, as you and I are one. John 17:11 Men will come from north, south, east and west to eat at the table in the Kingdom of God. Luke 13:29

From one he made every nation of men who live in earth’s surface; he determined the time he would allow them, the place he would give them to live . . • Acts 17:26 Peter spoke, saying, “ I see truly that God doesn’t play favorites; but in every country anyone who fears him, anyone who does what is right, is accepted by God.” Acts 10:34-35 God, who knows men’s hearts, spoke for them. He gave them the Holy Spirit, just as he gave the Holy Spirit to us. He did not distinguish between us and them, but by faith he made their hearts clean. Acts 15:8-9 ON THE LIBERATION OF ALL THE OP­ PRESSED Here Jthere is no such thing as black man or white man, female or male, Mexican American or North Vietnamese—no, Christ is all, Christ is in all! See Colossians 3:11


GOD AND REVOLUTION THE GAP BETWEEN THE RICH AND THE POOR Once there was a rich man, elegantly clothed, who feasted lavishly every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores. He wanted only the food which fell from the rich man’s table. The dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man !3ied and was carried up by angels to Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. He was tormented in hell, and lifting his eyes he saw Abraham and Lazarus together. He called out, “Father Abra­ ham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and come and cool my tongue. This flame torments me!” But Abraham answered, “Re­ member, Son, that while you were alive you- received all sorts of good things, and Lazarus received evil things. But he is comforted here now, and you are in agony. Besides all this, a great chasm has been 66

placed between you and us. So those who would pass from here to where you are may not, and those who would leave there and come to us may not.55 Then the rich man said, “ Please, Father, I beg you . . . send him to my father’s house, because I have five brothers. Lazarus can warn them, so that they might escape this terrible place.” But Abraham answered, “They have Moses and the prophets—they should listen to them.” The rich man said, “No, Father Abraham; but if only someone were to go to them from the dead they would change.” And Abraham answered, “ If they won’t hear Moses and the prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:19-31 An illustration of the indifference and insensitivity of the affluent to the poor man in the next apartment, the next section of town, the next state, or the next nation. He is kept alive by our garbage. The parable is not taken as an opiate for the poor, to assure them of the world to come; rather, the climax is the request the rich man makes of Abraham, asking him to send a warning to his brothers, the affluent who are alive now. fs T


in d if f e r e n c e o f t h e


The kingdom of heaven breaks in violently; violent men take it with force. The law and all the prophets up to John have told you this. Let anyone who can hear this hear it. But what can I compare this age to? 67

It is like children calling to their playmates in the market place, “ We played a time and you didn’t dance; we cried and you were not sad.” Matthew 11:12-17 You snakes! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Start acting as though you have repented . . . At this moment the ax is being used against the bases of the trees, and every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:7-10 Because wickedness grows, most men’s love will grow cold. Matthew 24:12 Too bad for you scribes and Pharisees—you hypo­ crites! You worry about all sorts of little things, and neglect the greater matters of the law: justice, mercy, faith. You should have done these things, without failing the other and less important things. Blind guides—you worry that you might inhale a gnat, and you swallow a camel! Matthew; 23:23 .i I have come into the world for judgement. . « John 9:39 68 ‘



poor are a lw a y s

w it h


He asked them, “Does anyone of you have a friend who, if you were to go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, please lend me three loaves of bread—a friend of mine has arrived unexpectedly and I don’t have anything to give him,’ would answer from inside his house, ‘Don’t bother me: I’ve shut the door for the night, and my children are in bed. I can’t give you anything’ ? You know that even if he refused to do it out of friendship, he would get up finally, if only because you kept asking him.” Luke 11:5-8 “ There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who had no respect for God or man. And a widow in the same place kept coming to him, saying, ‘Judge my case against my adversary for me.’ He refused for awhile, but finally he told himself, ‘Even though I have no respect for God or man, I’ll take her case. If I don’t, she’ll continue to bother me until I’m worn down completely.’ ” The Lord said, “That is what the unjust judge says. So won’t God avenge his chosen people, who cry to him day and night?” Luke 18:2-7 69

The friend who is caught with nothing in the cupboard is presumably poor and living hand to mouth. The widow in the second parable was evidently the victim of injustice; since she was too poor to give a bribe, her only weapon was persistence. The judge gives her justice, but only to get rid of her; in the same way, the man in the first parable helps his friend only so that the night can be peaceful again. Jesus is saying that if even the corrupt power of this world can be moved to act by persistence, the power of God is sure to be given generously to those who ask.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more Heath, no more will there be mourning or crying or pain. The former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 GOD AND REVOLUTION There is never a “ Christian revolution9\ Our task is not to set up Christian states or societies, but to humanize the secular order, or the revolution. The coming of the Kingdom confronts Christianity and society with the dynamic principle of a society always reforming. If revolution means “ change of relationships" , “ new life**9 “ new men”, etc., these are clearly Christian concepts. He






b u il d


This day I put you over nations and kingdoms to tear up and break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant Jeremiah 1:10 70

The Lord is a place of strength for the oppressed, a stronghold in bad times. Psalm 9:9 May he defend the cause of the poor, deliver those in need, and overthrow the oppressor! Psalm 72:4 Pay attention, the day is coming, it’s burning like an oven, when all the proud and all of the evil will be stubble. The day which is coming will burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, and no root or branch will be left. But the sun of righteousness will rise with healing wings, for you who respect my name . . . you will over­ throw the wicked, they will be ashes underfoot on the day that I act, says the Lord of Hosts. Malachi 4:1-3 I have been with you for such a long time—and you still don’t know me, Philip? How can you say, “ Show us the Father?” Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9 Paul Lehmann has told us that the incarnation is the humani­ zation of God, for the sake of the humanization of man.





m ig h t y






He has removed the powerful from their thrones, and exalted the poor; he has filled the hungry; he has sent the rich away empty. Luke 1:52-53 T

h e s e m e n h a v e t u r n e d t h e w h o l e w o r l d u p s id e

dow n


Acts 17:6 WILL THE REAL JESUS PLEASE STAND UP? All spoke well of him. They were amazed at the beau­ tiful words he spoke. Luke 4:22 When they heard this all the people in the synagogue filled with anger. They rose and threw him out of the city, and led him to the edge of the cliff on which the city stood, so that they might throw him off. Luke 4:28-29 When he drew near and saw the city he cried over it. Luke 19:41 Making a whip of cords he chased them all out of the temple, along with the sheep and oxen; he poured out 72

the money which the money-changers had brought, and turned their tables over. John 2:15 He was moved with pity, and "stretched his hand to touch him. “Be clean,” he said. Mark 1:41 It will go hard for you scribes and Pharisees—hypo­ crites! You are like white-washed tombs. They are beautiful on the outside, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and rotting flesh! Matthew 23:27 We emphasize the mild Jesus and forget his severity. We picture him handsome, even effeminate, dress him beauti­ fully, and emphasize his meekness. It would be wrong, how­ ever, to emphasize only his wrath. Jesus was the man described in both cases! But whoever wrote the words,“ Jesus Savior, meek and mild” must have forgotten the scene in the temple. Merchants retreat, coins are thrown around, and animals stampede. And he really wasn9t about to tell the establishment, in the words of LeRoi Jones, “ how to be saved a n d rich/*


w as

tem pted




p o l it ic a l

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, and when he re­ turned from the Jordan the Spirit led him into the 73

wilderness for forty days. He was tempted by the evil one there. He ate nothing during that time, and when they had ended he was hungry. The evil one said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “Scripture tells us that man does not live by bread alone.” Then the evil one took him up and showed him in one instant all of the kingdoms of the world. “ I will give you all the authority and glory of these kingdoms,” he said, “be­ cause they are given to me, and I can give this to whom I will. They will be yours, if you will worship me.” Jesus answered him, “Scripture says, worship the Lord your GoH; serve only him.” Then the evil one took him to Jerusalem, to the top of the temple, and said, “ If you are God’s Son, throw yourself down; for scripture says, ‘He will give you his angels to guard you,’ and *They will carry you up, to keep you from hitting your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus an­ swered, “ It also says, T)o not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” When the evil one had ended his tempta­ tions he left him, until the proper moment. Luke 4:1-13 Jesus was tempted to give ultimate concern to (a) economic justice (stone into bread) (b) political power (the king­ doms of the world) and (c) a sensational way of proving his divinity (casting himself from the temple, to be carried up


by angels). In the end he remains fully himself, the Suffering Servant, who lays down his life for his friends. Je su s

w as

condem ned b y t h e


om an

state as a

r e v o l u t io n a r y

Jesus was falsely condemned. He was the suffering Son of man rather than a political leader. No doubt many of his inner circle were revolutionaries (Zealots), including Peter.

The charge: “We found this man corrupting our na­ tion, forbidding us to pay tribute to Caesar. He says that he is himself Christ, a king . . . he stirs up the people.” Luke 23:2-5 Jesus’ reaction: “Daughters of Jerusalem, Hon’t cry for me—cry for yourselves instead, and for your chil­ dren. The time is coming when they will say, ‘Those without children are happiest. . Because if they are willing to do this when the woo'd is fresh, what hap­ pens finally, when the wood is dry?” Luke 23:28-31 That is, i)'■they execute me as a revolutionary, what will they do when the real revolution comes about? According to standard Roman legal practice, the grounds of the verdict had to be posted on the cross.


Pilate also wrote this notice, and told them to put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth—King of the Jews.” John 19:19 SCENES C it ie s

It will go badly for you, Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the great works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago . . . It will be easier for them on the day of judgement than for you. And Capemum—do you think you will be carried up to heaven? You will be sent down to Hell. If the great work done in you had been done in Sodom, then Sodom would be standing today; but it will go easier for Sodom than for you, on judgement !day. Matthew 11:21-24 Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to save you! I would often have taken your children under my wing, as tenderly as a hen gathers her brood, and you would not let me! Look, your house is forsaken, in desolation! Matthew 23:37-38 No city divided against itself will stand. Matthew 12:25 76



A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO RIOTS AND THEFTS BY THE POOR AND OPPRESSED Do not collect wealth for yourselves . . . Matthew 6:19 If a man takes what you own, do not ask him to re­ turn it. Luke 6:30 You accepted the plundering of your property witK joy: you knew that there is a better and more lasting possession. Hebrews 10:34 You rich are responsible for those people who must turn to crime because they are poor. The Shepherd of Hennas m e m o r y :' M. L. K i n g They will throw you out of the churches!—in fact, there will come a time when they will think that kill­ ing you is doing God a favor! John 16:2


TACTICS FOR CHANGE S e l e c t iv e C

o e r c io n :

v io l e n c e



He entered the temple and began to chase out those 77

who bought an3 sold there, overturning the tables of the money-changers and the pigeon-sellers. He would not let anyone carry anything through the temple. Mark 11:15-16 We do not say here that Jesus advocates anything so limited as a particular tactic. We merely wish to ask this question: if persons have primacy over property, can9t property be used in a way which compels justice, and challenges the oppressive system? Since violence can breed more violence3 this is a difficult question. This may help to give some per­ spective: Gordon Zahn has pointed out (about the burning of draft files) that we would regard those who destroyed lists of Jews destined for the gas chambers under Hitler as heroes. C

o n f r o n t a t io n

Do not take any part in the barren works of darkness. Instead, expose them. Ephesians 5:11 Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you asking out of your own curi­ osity, or did others say it of me?” “Am I Jewish?” Pilate said. “ Your own country, your hierarchy handed you over. What have you done?” Jesus an­ swered, “My kingdom is not worldly. If it were, my servants would fight for my rescue. But my kingship does not depend on the world’s power.” Pilate said, 78

“You are a king, then?” And Jesus answered, (lT~ say it; I was bom for this, I am in the world for this: to witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth can hear me.” Pilate said, “ What is truth?” . . . He had Jesus scourged. . . Pilate brought Jesus out, wear­ ing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, “Here is the man!” “Crucify him!” they shouted . . . “ Our law is that he should 'die: he has made him­ self God’s Son.” Pilate was afraid when he heard this. He walked back to the praetorium and asked Jesus, “ Where are you from?” Jesus would not answer. So Pilate said, “You refuse to answer me? Don’t you know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me at all if it were not given to you from above. . John 181 33-38; 19:1-11 D

e m o n s t r a t io n


Jesus told two disciples, “Go into the village—the one opposite you—and you will find a donkey tethered there, with a colt tied behind her. If anyone asks you what you are doing, tell them the Lord needs them. He will send them immediately.” ' . . . They did as he asked, and brought the donkey and her colt; they put their coats on them and he mounted. Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road, and others cut 79

branches and spread them In the street. The crowds before and behind him shouted, “Hail to David’s son! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!55 When he entered Jerusalem the whole city was excited. They said, “Who is this?55 And the crowds answered, “ This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth, Galilee.35 Jesus went into the temple and chased away those who bought and sold there . . ♦ Matthew 21:1-12 The entrance Into Jerusalem has all the elements of the theater of the absurd: the poor king, truth comes riding on a donkey, symbolic actions— even parading without a permit? Also, when Jesus “ set his face to go to Jerusalem” , what was involved was direct action, an open confrontation and public demonstration of the incompatibility of evil with the King­ dom of God. Som e

condem ned


d e m o n s t r a t io n

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said, “Teacher, tell your disciples not to do this!55 He answered, “I tell you, if they were quiet the stones themselves would cry out.” Luke 19:39-40 That is, nature itself cannot resist proclaiming man9s libera­ tion. Put



w here


m outh


Brothers, I appeal to you by God’s mercy to offer your 80

bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God— this is your worship in the Spirit. Do not try to fit into the pattern of the world you have lived in; be changed by the newness of your mind, proving in this way what is most pleasing and acceptable to the will of God. Romans 12:1-2 N

o n - c o o p e r a t io n

w it h




e v il

The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him, asking, “Tell us what authority you have to do these things, or tell us who gave you such authority.55 He answered, “ I have a question for you, too: was the baptism John gave from heaven, or men?55 They dis­ cussed this among themselves, saying, “ If we say, ‘from heaven5, he will ask ‘Why didn’t you believe him?5 And if we say, ‘from men5, the people will stone us, because they believe that John was a prophet.55 So they answered that they did not know. And Jesus said, “ Then I will not tell you how I came by the authority to do these things. Luke 20:1-8 Herod was very glad when they brought Jesus to him, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him work some sign. So he asked him questions for a length of time, but Jesus did not answer him at all. Luke 23:8-9 81 ^


p p o s it io n



e v il


It will go hard for you scribes and Pharisees! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous saying ‘If we had lived in our fathers’ time, we would not have helped them shed the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves: you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fin­ ish what your fathers started, then! You snakes, you brood of vipers! How will you escape hell? So I send you prophets, wise men, teachers, some of whom you will kill and crucify; you will beat others in the syna­ gogue; you will persecute them from town to town— all the just blood shed on earth is on you! Matthew 23:29-35 He made himself free of the principalities and powers; he made a public spectacle of them. Colossians 2:15 ■% PowfiR

stru g g le:

Jesu s



pow ers


His power at work in those of us who believe is im­ measurably great: it is the power which raised Christ from the dead . . . He made you alive; you had been dead because of your sin, and you followed the power of this world . . . Because it is not, after all, against 82

flesh and blood that we fight. Our battle is against. . . the powers and the world rulers of this dark time . . • Ephesians 1:19-20, 2 : 1-2, 6:12 The “ powers” include any of the idols to which we are slaves:.law, nationalism, static traditionalism, religion, time, sex, money, death, etc.— all the forces which corrupt human­ ity. What Jesus does is put these things back where they ought to be: they are to be of service, not our masters. Should we obey the new regime or the old regime?

I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor any spiritual power, nothing present or in the future, no height or depth or anything in the universe, will be able to separate us from the love of God, in Christ our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 CREATIVITY OF GOD AND LIBERATION In the beginning God made heaven and earth . . . the breath of God stirred over the waters . . . God said, “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” God created man in his own image. In the image of God he made him. Male and female he made them. Genesis 1




u l t im a t e

c r e a t io n



r e c o n c il ia t io n


u n it y


h r is t

He has shown all of us, with wisdom and insight, the mystery of his will; he set forth his purpose in Christ as a plan for the fulfillment of all time, to unite all things in heaven and earth through him, Ephesians 1:9-10 He is our peace, he has made us both one. He has broken through the wall of hostility. Ephesians 2:14 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope, a hope which belongs to your call­ ing . . . We will no longer be children, tossed around by every new and interesting teaching, by clever men with their knowledge of deceit. Ephesians 4:4, 14 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and earth had passed away . . . I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending from God in heaven like a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a great voice from the throne say, “ The place where God lives is now with men. He will live with them. They will be his people, and God will be with them. He will wipe away all of their tears. There will be no 84

more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain. The for­ mer things have passed away.” And he who sat on the throne said, “See: I make all things new.” Revelation 21:1-5 At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, on earth, and below; and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God our Father. Philippians 2:10-11 He reflects the glory of God and bears God’s own na­ ture; he holds the universe together by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3 Here there cannot be the dividing walls of nation and race, barriers of religiousness, the clash of cultures, the hostilities of class, but Christ is all, for all See Colossians 3:11-15 The coming of Jesus Christ implies a breaking through of all hostile divisions in human communities and in creation itself. The unifying power of Jesus is manifested at points of conflict. M


i s g i v e n r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ijo r t h e w o r l d

The Lord God put the man in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and keep it. Genesis 2:15 85

Then God said, “Let us make men in our own image and our own likeness; let them have responsibility for the whole creation.” Genesis 1:26-28 We are the work of God, created in Jesus Christ for good works which God has prepared in advance, for us to participate in. Ephesians 2:10 C r e a t io n

c o n t in u e s

There are many who live as enemies to the cross of Christ. They will end in destruction. Their god is their own desire, and they glory in the shame they live in; their minds are set on the way things are now. But our own land is heaven, and we wait for a Savior—our Lord, Jesus Christ. He will change our mortal bodies, so that they will be like his glorious body; and he will do this by the same power with which he makes every­ thing his.. Philippians 3:18-21 Jesus said to them, “ My father is still at work; and I work/’ ^ John 5:17 T


w orld




He said to them, “Go to all the world; preach the good news to all creation.” Mark 16:15 86

God sent the Son into the world not to condemn it, but so that the whole world might be saved through him. John 3:17 I am no longer in the world. But they are in the world, - and I am coming to you. Keep them in your name, Holy Father, which you have given me. May they be one, as we are one . . . I do not pray that you take them from the world; only that you keep them from evil. John 17:11, 15 T


w orld




God saw everything he had made. Behold: it was very good. Genesis 1:31 The Spirit makes it clear that in the future some will leave the faith because of the evil teachings of liars with burnt-out consciences. These men forbid mar­ riage; they insist on abstinence from foods made by God for men to receive thankfully, in faith and knowl­ edge of the truth. Everything made by God is good. Nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanks­ giving, for them it is made holy by God’s word and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1-5 87 ’

Nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for the one who thinks of it as unclean. If what you do scan­ dalizes your brother, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you do hurt one for whom Christ died. You should not let what is good for you be called evil. . . Everything really is clean; but you should not let the way you live cause others to fall . . . Do not, just for the sake of your own freedom, destroy what God is doing in someone else. Everything is truly clpan, but it is wrong for anyone to make others fall by the way he lives. See Romans 14:14-16,

20-21 L et


w orld


w orldly


The sabbath was made for man; man was not made for the sabbath. Mark 2:27 T


w orld



c r e a t iv e

e v o l u t io n

The sufferings of the present can’t even be compared with the glory that will be shown to us! Nature longs eagerly for God to reveal his sons. Nature itself is frus­ trated, not by its own will but by the will of him who made it so—but it was made hopefully, because nature itself will be freed from its ties to decay. Nature will have the freedom of God’s own children. We know 88

that until the present time all nature groans with pains like the pains of giving birth. But it is not nature alone; we too have the Spirit as the first of God’s gifts. We also groan within ourselves, waiting for God to make us his sons and set us free. c___ Romans 8:18-23 The Father loves the Son, and he shows him all that he does. And he will show him even greater works than the ones he is doing, so that you may wonder, John 5:20 W e are living “ between the times*3— the time of Christ’s resurrection and the new age of the Spirit, and the time of fulfillment in Christ. Life in the Spirit is a pledge, a “ down­ payment” , on the final kingdom of shalom. In the meantime we are to be signs of the kingdom which is, and is coming. Parable


a l ie n a t io n







The Lord told the man, “You may eat of the fruit of any tree in the garden; but the day you eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will die.” . . . They ate, and their eyes were opened. They saw that they were naked. God walked in the garden; they heard him and hid from his presence. But God called “Where are you? . . . Have you eaten the fruit I told you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman 89

you gave me handed me the fruit, and I ate.” . . •To the woman the'Lord said, “Your pain in childbearing will be increased. You will bring forth children in pain. But you will desire your husband, and he will rule you.” He said to Adam, “You have eaten the fruit of the tree, after I told you not to eat it. So the earth is cursed, because of you. What you eat you will have to tear from toil for the rest of your life.” From Genesis 2, 3 JESUS IS THE MESSIAH: OUR LIBERATOR He* has taken our grief, he has carried our sorrow, and still we thought him cursed, condemned by God, afflicted. But for our sins he was wounded . . . like a lamb, led to the slaughter. He was taken away by oppression and judgement. •g He had done nothing violent, he never spoke falsely. . . He emptied his soul into death and was counted a criminal. But he took on the sins of many, he interceded for sinners. From Isaiah 53 God’s angel Gabriel was sent to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph," 90

of the house of David. Her name was Mary. He came to her and said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you!” She was afraid: what could this mean, she won­ dered. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with the Lord. Behold: you will con­ ceive and bear a son, and call him Jesus. He will be great, the Son of the Most High; the Lord will give him the throne of David, his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will not be an end to his reign.” Mary said, “ How can that happen? I have no husband.” And the angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, the power of the Most High will come to you. The child you will bear will be called holy; he will be called the Son of God.” . Luke 1:26-35 It was winter in Jerusalem, the feast of the Dedication, and Jesus was walking in Solomon’s portico in the temple. They gathered around him and said, “Don’t keep us waiting: if you are the Christ, tell us clearly.” Jesus answered, “ I have told you, and you 'do not be­ lieve. The works I do in the Father’s name are my wit­ ness, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life: they will not die, no one will take them away from me. What my Father has given me is greater than everything: no 91

one can take them away from the Father. The Father and I are one . . . If I do not do the works of the Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you do not accept my word, believe the works: real­ ize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” John 10:22-30, 37-38 IN JESUS THERE IS A NEW HUMANITY, A NEW CREATION Je s u s ,







t h e f ir s t b o r n o f t h e n e w


Jesus is the New Man in such a way that his existence has consequences for mankind. After Christ history has a dynamic like a seed cast into the earth. (See Mark 4)

God knew beforehand those who would respond to his call; and he also destined them beforehand to be made in the image of his Son, so that he would be the first bom of many brothers. Romans 8:29 He is the image of God who cannot be seen; he is the first-born of all creation. He exists before all things; in union with him all things come together. He is the head of his body, which is the Church. He is the life of the body. He is the first of God’s sons to be raised 92

from Heath, so that he, and only he, might have the first place in all things. Colossians 1:15-18 Scripture says, “ The first man, Adam, became a living being.” And the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. - —~ •rinthians 15:45 We




h u m a n it y

You have put off the old nature anH its ways; you have put on the new humanity, which is continually renewed in the image of its creator. ^ ^ ‘

____________ rinlnssIans-S^M 'fr

It was his will to bring us forth by the word of truth, to be a kind of first fruits of what he is creating. So know this, brothers. Let every man be quick to listen to others; but speak carefully, refrain from unneces­ sary anger. The anger men have does not accomplish the good will of God. James 1:18-19 So I kneel before the Father . . . I pray that through his glory and generosity he may give you strength, with power, through his Spirit in you, and that Christ may live in your hearts by faith. I pray that you, rooted 93

and grounded in love, may be strong enough to know with all of the faithful the wideness and the length and the height and depth of the love of Christ—it is greater than we can know!—and may be filled with the fullness of God himself. Ephesians 3:14-19 old humanity; it belongs to the way 3 and is filled with false desires. Be renewed 1’s spirit; put on the new humanity, made ness, in what is *—

Jesu s



w ay

Jesus told them, “ I am the light of the world. The man who follows me will not walk in the dark; he will have the light of life.” The Pharisees said to him, “You are only witnessing to yourself; what you say is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do witness to my­ self I am telling the truth. I know where I come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I go.” John 8:12-14 Thomas said to him, “ Lord, we Ho not know where you are going. How can we find the way?” Jesus an­ swered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. If any­ 94

one comes to the Father, it is through me. If you had known me, you would have known the Father Now you know him; you have seen him.” John 14:5-7. T


w ay


l if e



I call heaven and earth to witness that toHay I have set life and Heath before you, I have set blessing and the curse before you. So choose life, so that you and your descendents may live. Deuteronomy 30:19 come so that they n

I tell you this truth: if anyone keeps my word, he will not die. John 8:51 The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ has freed me from the law of sin and Heath. Romans 8:2 I So put to HeatK what is mortal in you: immoral living, impurity, passion, evil desires; and greed, because greed is idolatry. Colosslans 3:5 i 95

Our Savior Jesus Christ has overthrown death. He has brought everlasting life to light through his good news. 2 Timothy 1:10 All we are paid for sin is death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23 We were buried into death with him by baptism, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we will also walk in the New Life. United with him in a death like his, we are certain to be one with him in resurrection. Romans 6:4-5 THE WAY OF SPIRIT OVER FLESH “ Flesh” is a mode of being in which the fundamental orientation of the person is invisible, in which his true self is lost and scattered in the world of things, a depersonalized world of mass-existence. “ Spirit99 is a mode of being in which man is not dependent on things for self-understanding. His orientation is to God, through his brother. Flesh and spirit are equivalent to the “ old man99 and the “ New Man". W




s p ir it


w orks






Walk by the Spirit; do not satisfy the will of the flesh • .. If you are led by the Spirit the law does not bind 96

you. The works of the flesh are plain: immorality, im­ purity of mind, licentiousness, worship of idols, hatred, quarreling, jealousy, false enthusiasm, outbursts of rage, selfishness, anything which splits up community, drunkenness—everything of that sort. But the works of the Spirit are agape—the love which comes down from God—joy in living, wholeness of life, patience in hope, a kindliness which refuses to give pain, goodness with justice, reliability, strength with gentleness, and self-control. See Galatians 5:16-24 S in





Our old self was crucified with him, to destroy the ’ body of sin, to free us from slavery to sin and death. Romans 6:6 Through one man sin entered the world, and with his sin came death. Death spread, as a result, to all man­ kind, because all men sinned. Before the law was given there was sin on earth, but since there was no law it was not known as sin. But from Adam’s time until Moses, death ruled all men—even those who did not sin, like Adam, by disobeying God. Adam was a sign, pointing to the one who was to come. But the two are not the same: God’s free gift is not like Adam’s sin. While it is true that many died because of one man’s 97

sin, God’s grace is much greater, and so is his free gift to many men through one man’s grace—Jesus Christ . . . Everyone who receives God’s great grace and the free gift of his own goodness will rule in life, through Christ. Romans 5:12-15, 17 THE CHURCH IS ESPECIALLY THE CHURCH OF THE POOR—JOHN X X III You will know them by the fruit they bear . . . Every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit; in the same way, an evil tree does not bear good fruit. Every tree that does not yield good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire* So you will know them by the way they act. Matthew 7:16-20 P o in t



retu rn

He asked, “Lord, let me return Home, to bury my father.” But Jeses said, “Let the dead bury their dead. Your job is to proclaim the kingdom of God.’* Luke 9:59-60 . No one who starts to plow and then looks back is fit for God’s kingdom. Luke 9:62

With the Kingdom already arriving, the need for radical change is overwhelming. Just as John the Baptist intervened in the history of Israel, might we not say to this generation of vipers: Change* flee from the wrath that is coming. Can we yield, like Jesus> to some sort of conditional baptism— say, by the blacks and other oppressed minorities among us?





Rabbi Jesus made the Passover meal into a festival of love and unity, of man’s liberation by his death and resurrection. Passover was the celebration of man’s struggle for freedom; it continues from the Hebrews of old to the oppressed today. The Haggadah is their story; the Seder9 their celebration.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him. The living Father sent me: I live because of the Father: so the one who eats me will live, because of me. This bread has come from heaven: it is not like the bread of your ancestors; they ate, and [died. The one who eats this bread will live forever, John 6:56-58 During the meal Jesus took bread. He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his friends, saying, “ Take this and eat it: this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after he had given thanks he said, “ Drink this, all of you: this is the blood of the promise. It will be poured out, for the forgiveness of many.” Matthew 26:26-28 99

What I have from the Lord I have given to you: that Jesus took bread on the night when he was betrayed; he gave thanks and broke it, saying, “This is my body, which is given up for you. Do this in my memory.” He took the cup in the same way, after the meal. He said, “This cup is the new promise in my blood. As often as you do this, remember me.” As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until his coming. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 THE EUCHARIST AND OTHERS Breaking bread implies being broken for others

He took bread. When he had given thanks he broke it, gave it to them, and said “This is my body, which is broken for you.” Luke 22:19 Stop bringing me vain offerings! They burden me. Even though your prayers are many I will not listen: your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, purify yourselves— take your evil from my presence; learn to do good: pursue justice, ! end oppression, defend the orphan, intercede for the widow. From Isaiah 1:13-17 100


a r e r o o t e d in

fre e d o m

He came . . . to free those who were under the law, so that we could be chosen as God’s sons. Because you are sons God has sent his own Son’s spirit into our hearts, crying “Abba—Father!” You are no longer a slave—through God you are a son. Galatians 4:5-7 has freed us for the sake of freedom. Be firm, ^then: do not accept slavery again. „___________________ Galatians 5:1 ._ You are a message from Christ, written not with ink but with God’s living Spirit; not carved on stone but in human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3 In Jesus Christ Abraham’s blessing comes upon the unbelievers, so that we can receive the promise of the Spirit by our faith. Galatians 3:14 The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ frees me from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 T




There were times when any act was thought to be self-


authenticating if you felt “ taken over by the spirit.” Some of these acts would not be authentic expressions of transforma­ tion.

You know, brothers, that you have been called to free­ dom. But do not use this freedom as an excuse to let your own desires rule you. Rather than this, allow love to lead you into the service of one another. Galatians 5:13 I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets; no, I have come to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17 Christ, the Passover lamb, has been sacrifieH. Let us celebrate the feast, then, not with the old leaven of ill-will and evil, but rather with the unleavened bread of wholeness and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:8 F reedom


d ir e c t e d t o


o d ; it is

for others

The body is not meant for immoral things, but for the Lord. And the Lord is meant for the body . . . Don’t you realize that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within you, whom God has given you. You do not belong to yourselves . . . Glorify God, in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:13,19-20



fr ee d o m is

a c t u a l iz e d in

r e n u n c ia t io n

“ For me everything is allowed,” you say. But every­ thing is not helpful. “For me everything is allowed,” you say. But I will not let anything enslave me. 1 Corinthians 6:12 If anyone sees you—you, who are supposedly enlight­ ened—breaking a law, even though his conscience hurts him, he may imitate you. And so, because of your knowledge, this weak man is destroyed . . . and he is your brother: Christ died for him too. 1 Corinthians 8:10-11 Love is patient, kind, not arrogant; it does not de­ mand its own way. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 I am the vine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts away every branch of mine which does not bear fruit; and he tends every fertile branch, so that it can bear more fruit. You have been cleansed by the word which I have spoken. Stay in me, and I will stay in you. The branch does not grow fruit by itself. It must live in the vine. In the same way, you cannot, unless you stay in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who stays in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. But apart from me you can’t do anything . . . If you 103

stay in me, and my words stay in you, you may ask whatever you will: it will be done for you. John 15:1-7 f

Go tell John what you have seen and heard. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made whole, the deaf hear, the dead rise . . . and the poor are told the good news! Happy is the man who is not offended by me! Luke 7:22-23 BAPTISM: THE PASSOVER FROM SLAVERY TO LIBERATION Unless a man is bom of water and the Spirit he cannot come into God’s kingdom. What is bom by means of the flesh is flesh; what is bom of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised when I say, you must be bom again. The wind blows wherever it wants to blow. You hear the sound, but you do not know where the wind comes from, or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is bom again, in the Spirit. ■ John 3:5-8 Whoever drinks the water I give will not thirst again, not ever. The water I give will become in that person a spring flowing into eternal life. John 4:14 104 :

When Jesus was baptized and stood up from the water the heavens opened:, he saw God’s spirit descend­ in g ... Matthew 3:16 Those of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ himself, Galatians 3:27 We were buried in death with him, through our bap­ tism, so that as God’s glory raised Christ from the dead we too might walk in new life. Because if we are one in him in death, we will surely be one with him in resurrection. Our old self was crucified with him and the body of our sin was destroyed, so that we might be freed from slavery to sin. He who has died is free from sin; if we have died with Christ, we believe also that we will live with him. . . . You must think of your­ selves as dead to sin and alive to God, in Jesus Christ. . . . . Give yourselves up to God as men who have been brought out of death into life. Romans 6:4-13 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He holds the shovel in his hand, ready to clean the threshing floor; he will take the good wheat into 105

his granary, but he will bum the bad in a fire which cannot be put out. Luke 3:16-17 B a p t is m

m ak es u s part of a m ovem ent, an exodus


Every creation or liberation is a sign of baptism. In the Old Testament water was symbolic of purification, as well as the mystery of life, death, and struggle: the waters during the creation of the world; the Red Sea opening to deliver the Jews from slaveryJosue crossing Jordan, over water, to enter the Kingdom.

If you belong to Christ, you are descendents of Abra­ ham, you are inheritors according to the promise he was given. Galatians 3:29 Our fathers were all led by the cloud; all passed through the sea. In the cloud and in the sea they all were baptized into Moses. 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 Abraham obeyed by faith, when he was called to go to a place which had been promised as part of his in­ heritance. He went; he did not know where he was supposed to go. He traveled by faith, in the land which had been promised, as if it were foreign terri106 '

tory. He lived in tents, with Isaac anH Jacob, who were also inheritors of the same promise. He looked forward to the well settled city, built and made by God. Hebrews 11:8-10




r e v e l a t io n



L iv in g G



The way— Torah— is not law, but a transformed way of life.

We know that the Son of God has come; he has given us the understanding to know God’s truth, through Jesus Christ. He is the true God, the eternal life. 1 John 5:20 To me is given the grace to teach the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to reveal to everyone the mystery concealed in God from all eternity, the mystery which is revealed now. From Ephesians 3:4-10 Ignorance is no more, the old realm of the Evil One is destroyed, because God has revealed himself in the form of man. St. Ignatius of Antioch 108



L iv in g G




sen sed


in t e l ­

lectual concepts

No one has seen God. He has been made known by the only Son, who lives in the Father. John 1:18 God lives in light which we cannot come near—no one has seen him or can see him. 1 Timothy 6:16 Every concept of God is false, an idol. St. Gregory of Nyssa Anyone who thinks he knows God is depraved. St. Gregory Nazianzen T


L iv in g G


h in t s



we know only in part . . . But when perfection comes, our partial knowledge will.be abolished . . . Now we see dimly, as into a dark mirror. Then we will know completely, as we are known now. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 N


T h e H oly

The seraphim stood above the Lord, calling to one another, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of 109

hosts; the whole world is full of his glory.” The foundations shook with his voice . . . Isaiah 6:2-4 He

t r a n s c e n d s e v e r y t h i n g ; h e is e v e r y w h e r e

God is spirit. Those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending. Revelation 21:6 This knowledge is too wonderful for me—it is high! I cannot reach it! Where can I go, away from your spirit? How can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there . . . If I go to the depths of the sea, even there your hand will lead me, your right hand will hold me. Psalm 139:7-10 He

is e x i s t e n c e :

h e is t h e d e p t h s o f o u r b e in g

Then Moses asked God, “What is your name?” God said, “I am He Who IS . .. He Who IS has sent you.” Exodus 3:13-14 I am Existence; I am Happening; I am present— and in any way I choose.


In him all things find their source, what they are be­ coming, the center of their being. Romans 11:36 He who comes to God must believe that he IS. Hebrews 11:6 THE WAY IS NOT A RELIGION: CHRISTIAN­ ITY IS THE END OF RELIGION " Religion” here means the division between sacred and secular concerns, otherworldliness, man’s reaching toward God in a way which projects his own thoughts. T

h e m a n - m ad e t e m p l e is d e s t r o y e d ; m a n h im s e l f

is t h e

tem ple

Don’t you know that you are God’s temple, and God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy that man. And you are that temple. ‘ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Be living stones, built into a temple, a holy priest­ hood . , . 1 Peter 2:5 No one can build on any foundation other than the one which has been laid, and that is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11


Some testifieH falsely against him: “We heard him say, T will destroy this man-made temple, and build another in three days which is not man-made.5” Mark 14:57-58 C

h r is t r e m o v e s t h e

b a r r ie r b e t w e e n

sacred a n d


The curtain of the temple was tom apart, from top to bottom. Mark 15:38 The tearing of the veil meant, symbolically, that the division between the Holy of Holies (the sacred sanctuary) and the outer court (the world) was demolished. The end of “ religion” begins. O

u r d e s t i n y i s "e v e r l a s t i n g

Even though the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we know that God gives us a building not made by men, of heaven and eternal. We sigh here, yearning to move into that heavenly place. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 The Athenians and the foreigners who lived in Athens spent all of their time telling or trying to hear some­ thing new. So Paul stood in the middle of the Areo­ pagus and said, “ Men of Athens, I see that you are religious in every way. As I walked along, looking at 112

the objects of your worship, I found an altar which was inscribed ‘To an unknown God.5 I am here to proclaim to you what you worship as unknown.” Acts 17:21-23 They sacrifice to Evil, not to God. Do not join evil forces. You can’t drink both the cup of the Lord and the cup of evil. You can’t eat both the supper of the Lord and the meal of the Evil One. Can the temple of God agree with idols? We are the temple of the Living God. 1 Corinthians 10:20-22, 6:14-16 See: Iam he.There is no other God. Your Lord is the God of Gods. He does not take sides; hecan’t be bribed. He makes sure that the poor are treated justly and he loves the stranger; he gives him food and clothes. Deuteronomy 32:39, 10:12-18 #

As a deer longs for the brook, so my heart sighs for you; I thirst for the Living God. Psalm 42:1-2 l_ 113 L

THE WAY TO GOD: THE DEIFICATION OF MAN God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Genesis 1:26 The Word became man, and lived with us. John 1:14


God became what we are, man, to make us what He is, God. Sts Irenaeus Man has been commanded to become God. St. Basil You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ, in God. When Christ (who is our life) appears, you too will appear glorious with him. Colossians 3:3-4 G od

is w i t h i n


The Kingdom of Cod will not come with signs to be seen. They will not say, “Look, it is over here!” or “ There it is!” Know this: the Kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20-21

A virgin will bear a child, and his name will be “ GocJ is with us.” Isaiah 7:14 He who hears the Word of God and understands it bears good fruit and gives it forth. Matthew 13:23 I have been crucified with Christ. Now I live no longer—Christ lives in me. My human life is lived by faith in God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 The proper sort of contemplation for you is that which looks within. As' you discover the potential placed within you at the beginning, you have what you seek within you. St. Gregory of Nyssa If you search for Me, you have found Me. Pascal


ILLUMINATION AND CONSCIOUSNESS The eye lights up the body. If your eye is whole^ your body will be filled with light. But if your eye is not whole, your body will be full of darkness. Matthew 6:22-23 115

Blessed are your eyes, because they see. Matthew 13:16 Happy are the servants whom the master finds alert when he comes! I tell you this truth: he will wrap a towel around his waist and ask them to sit down at the table, and he will serve them himself. Luke 12:37, G

od is l ig h t

See my serv^njtQ.^ I have given you as a promise to my people^Jttou^are a light to all nations, opemftg 'blind eyes and freeing those who are jailed in dark­ ness. Isaiah 42:1, 6-8 In him was life. The light was man’s life, and Harkness cannot win it over . . . The true light which il­ luminates the whole world has come into the world. John 1:4-5, 9 Jesus said, tcI am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in the dark, but he will have the light of life,”John 8:12 116 '

PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION: F lk TO SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION \ After John’s arrest Jesus went through Gal\ -i, preaching God’s good news: “The time is now,” he said; “ the Kingdom of God is near. Change, and, believe the good news.” Mark 1:14-15 I will give them hearts that know I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God. They will return to me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7 If anyone is in Christ, he is made new. The old has died; the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 He who sat upon the throne said, “Look: I make all / ' things new!” Revelation 21:5 Joy

i n t h e f e a s t o f l ib e r a t io n


When he has found it, he carries it with him rejoicing./ When he comes home, he calls his friends and neigh-\ bors together and says, “ Be joyful with me: I haveN found myself, which was lost.” ^ See Luke 15:5-6 117 ,

Kill the calf we’ve been fattening. Let us eat and rejoice, because my son was dead, and now he lives again! He was lost, and now he is found! Luke 15:23-24


THE NEW AGE Do not remember the past, or think about old things. Look: I am doing a new thing— don’t you see it? Isaiah 43: 18-19 / i n

t h e f u l l n e s s o f t im e

( Wfieri >t^>4J1ppss of time rnme^fTnri sent forth his Son, born of a woman, under the law, so that we might be taken by him as his sons. Galatians 4:4-5 These things are only shadows of what is coming; and it is Christ who casts the shadows. Colossians 2:17 He set forth Ms purpose in Christ, a plan for the full­ ness of time, to make all things one in him. " Ephesians 1:9-10 119

E v e r y t h in g

w a s o l d , s t a id

My people have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters; they dig cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns which hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13 T

h e p r o m is e o f t h e n e w age

I will sprinkle you with clean water, and you wilLbe cleansed • • . I will cleanse you of your idols. Lwill give von a new hp.ar±^J^wilL-piii -^-rigjbg-gpirit within yoju£T~wiII take from vour.human-bodies-the-heart oT stone^ and giveyou a truly human heart. # ----------------— ---- ------ Ezekiel 156725-26 * The hand of God was on me; he brought me forth by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in a valley full of bones. He took me around among them; the valley was filled with them, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I an­ swered, “Lord, you know the answer.” He said, “ Prophesy to these bones, tell them, Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. The Lord God tells these bones, Watch: I will make breath enter you, and you shall live . • . Come from the four winds, breath; breathe upon these murdered men, that they might live.” I prophesied as he commanded, and they lived and stood, a great number. Then he said to me, “Son of


man, these bones are all of Israel. They say, We are dry, we are hopeless, we have been abandoned. So prophesy, tell them, This is what God says: Watch, I will open your graves and raise you from them, my people, and bring you home into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you, my people. And in you I will put my own Spirit.” Ezekiel 37:1-5, 9-14 From now on we see no one from a human standpoint. Even though we once saw Christ from a human point of view, we no longer see him that way. ULanyone is in Christ, he is made new.The old has died, the new has come.AlloLthiscomes.from-God~ThroughChrist he reconciled us tn.liimse.lfj and made us to serve others for the samelrecQhciliatTon. 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 It is best for you that I go. If I do not leave you, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go I will send him to you, and when he comes he will show the world that it is wrong about sin, and what is right, and judgement. He will show that it is wrong about sin, be­ cause they do not believe in me; about what is right, because I am going to the Father, and you will not see me; and about judgement, because the ruler of this 121

world is condemned. There are many more things I would like to tell you, but you are not strong enough yet. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the truth. He does not speak from his own au­ thority, but he will speak whatever he hears, and tell you what is coming. John 16:7-13 7he

New Age

b u rsts

fo rth

fs a permanZTCCrevolution, a constant re-creation. With the sending of the Holy Spirit the creative energy and creative power of the Resurrection are spread among men. The Holy Spirit is the revelation of creativity«

The day of Pentecost came, and they were together in one place. All of a sudden a sound like the sound of the rushing wind came from heaven and filled the room where they sat. Tongues like tongues of fire appeared, divided among them and resting on each one. And all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them the power to speak. . . . Peter stood with the'eleven and raised his voice to address the crowd outside . . .” This is what the prophet Joel foretold,” he said: “ ‘In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Young men will see visions . . . I will show wonders in heaven and signs on earth . . Men of Israel, listen: 122

Jesus of Nazareth, a man God gave you, worked great wonders and miracles among you in God, and you are aware of this. God knew beforehand that Jesus would be condemned; and he is the man you killed, using men outside the law. But God raised him from the 'dead, releasing him from death’s pains, because death could not hold him.” Acts 2:1-4, 14, 17-25 The Lord is Spirit: and where the Lord’s Spirit is,( freedom is. The~veilg~no longer cover our faces—we all behoid the glory of the LoIttrSHtTare transformed into his image from one level of glory to another; and this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22:32 T


S p ir it

com pletes t h e w o r k of

Jesu s

In a certain sense the work of Jesus was a preparation f o r , the work of the Spirit. Jesus realized the breakthrough to redemption, while the Spirit actualized and completed it.

When they heard this they were baptized in the name of Jesus. When Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came to them. They spoke in tongues and prophesied. Acts 19:5-6 123

Glossolalia, speaking in tongues, was a sign that the unity destroyed at Babel, where language had been a barrier to communication, had been restored.

If you are my witnesses before men, the Son of man will be your witnesses before God’s angels . . . Do not worry, when authority charges you with criminal activity, about what you will answer or tell them. The Holy Spirit will tell you then what you should say. Luke 12:8, 11-12 The power at work in us is the same power of God which raised Christ from the dead. Ephesians 1:19-20 Do







Whoever denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels by the Son of man. Now, if a man speaks against the Son of man, he may be forgiven. But who­ ever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Luke 12:9-10 I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, except blasphemy against the Spirit. Matthew 12:31 124

And this blasphemy is refusing to listen to what we kn ow we are being told by the Spirit. It is refusing to be led, denying the power which works in us, which wants to work through us. T



of th e

S p ir it

The Holy Spirit came down on him in the form of a 'dove, and a voice came from heaven* saying, “You are my well-loved Son. I have begotten you today.” Luke 3:22 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies too, through his Spirit, which lives in you. Romans 8:11 The Evil One was stripped of his power in the presence of the Spirit. St. Basil He is God’s Spirit, Christ’s mind, the Spirit of truth and freedom. He is the Spirit of creativity, who makes all things new, who knows everything and teaches . . . He goes where he wills, gives light and gives energy to life, making men God-ljke . . . He makes prophets and apostles and teachers. St. Basil

T h e Spir it is t h e s o u l o f C h r is t ’ s B o d y ; a n d w e C h r is t ’ s B o dy , t h e C h u r c h E ach person is given the manifestation of the Spirit which will work best, through him, for the common good. One speaks wisely through the Spirit, for the good of the community. Another is knowledgeable because of the same Spirit. Through the Spirit one has faith; and another, because of the one Spirit, can heal. One can work miracles, another can prophesy, another can judge which are the good and bad spirits, still another can speak in ecstatic tongues, and another can interpret those words . . . but all of these gifts come from the same Spirit. He is one, and he gives these gifts to each individual as he wills. Because just as the body is one, but has many members which make up the one body, so it is with Christ. are

1 Corinthians 12:7-12 You have all been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge . . . The anointing you received from him lives in you. You do not need anyone to teach you that. His anointing teaches you everything. It is true, it is no lie! Live in him, just as it has taught you. 1 John 2:20, 27 Isn’t the anointing of the Spirit greatly needed today? The


gifts of the Spirit include discernment: we need to discern how the Spirit of God is leading us. B a p t is m



S p ir it

I say to you truly: unless a man is bom again of water and the Spirit, he cannot come into God’s kingdom. John 3:5 I have come to send fire to the earth; I wish it were already burning! There is a baptism I must go through; and how I am held back until it is over! Luke 12:49-50 ' While Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit descended on all who heard the word, and the believers who came with Peter, the ones who were circumdzed according to the law, were amazed: the gift of the Holy Spirit had been given even to Gentiles! They heard them speak­ ing in tongues and giving glory to God. Then Peter exclaimed, “Gan anyone forbid these people to receive the water of baptism? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have!” . . . Peter told the disciples in Jerusalem, “As I began to speak the Holy Spirit came to them just as he came to us in the beginning. And I remembered what the Lord said: ‘J°^n baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If GoH gave them the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, how 127

could you expect me to go against God?” They were silent when they heard this. And they gave glory to God, saying, “God has given even to unbelievers the repentance which leads to life!” Acts 10:44-47, 11:15-18

T h e Sp ir it is Po w er

Behold: I send you the promise of my Father. But wait in the city of Jerusalem, until you are given power from heaven. ' Luke 24:49 When the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses everywhere. Acts 1:8 God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 T h e Sp ir it in f o r m s u s

You will be brought before governors and rulers for my sake, to witness against them and against unbe­ lievers. But when they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say. You will know then what you 128

are to say, because it is not you who will speak, but the Spirit of the Father which will speak through you. Matthew 10:18-20 T


S p ir it

h a s t h e p o w e r o f f o r g iv e n e s s

He breathed on them and said, “Receive-the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven.” John 20:22-23 T


S p ir it



S p ir it



w is d o m




The three principles of a pluralistic human community might be these three gifts of the Spirit: love, freedom, and wisdom.

Our hope will not disappoint us, because through the Holy Spirit the love of God has been poured into our hearts. Romans 5:5 I never stop giving thanks for you, and remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you wisdom, and reveal knowledge of himself to you. Ephesians 1:17 The Lord is Spirit: and where the Lord’s Spirit is, freedom is. 2 Corinthians 3:17 129

It was not the spirit of slavery we received, which leads to fear; you have received the spirit of God’s sons. Romans 8:15 T


S p ir it



e v e r y w h e r e , in


Do not be surprised that I told you, “You must be bom again.” H ie wind blows wherever it wills. You hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes. The same is true of everyone born in the Spirit. John 3:7-8 You who live badly know how to give good things to your children. The heavenly Father is even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks him! r Luke 11:13 THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY: AN OPEN CIRCLE Fellow

s h ip in




S p ir it

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and fellowship in the Holy Spirit be with you all, 2 Corinthians 13:14 A c l a s s l e s s s o c ie t y The rulers of the non-believers lord it over them; their great men have authority over their people. But that 130

should not be your way. Whoever wants to be greatest among you should be your servant. Whoever would be first must be your slave. Matthew 20:25-27 ...

a n d w o m e n ’ s l ib e r a t io n , t o o


Those of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ himself. There is no longer such a thing as Jew or Greek; slave, or freeman; there is no longer male nor female—you are all one in Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:27-28 Soul

b r o t h e r s a n d s is t e r s , g r e e t o n e a n o t h e r !

All the brothers send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 1 Corinthians 16:20 Finally, ^brothers, goodbye. Change your ways, listen to what I have told you, live in agreement and peace, and may the God of love and peace be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the faithful here send their greeting. 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 But

d o n o t b e e x c l u s iv e

If you greet only your brothers, what are you doing which other people don’t do? Even unbelievers do the same thing. Matthew 5:47 131

In C

h r is t

r e l a t io n s h ip s

assum e

r a d ic a l l y


form s

The crowd sitting around him said, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” He answered, “ Who are my mother and my brothers and sisters?” He looked around him, at the people sitting with him. “Here they are! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister, and mother*” Mark 3:31-35 No man loves more than the man who will lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I have told you to 3o. I no longer call you ser­ vants, because servants do not know what the master is doing. I call you my friends, because I have told you everything that I have heard from the Father. John 15:13-15 When Jesus calls his disciples “ brothers?’ and “ friends” , he is contradicting general Jewish usage and breaks through into a new concept of brotherhood which is not tribal, but open to any person. The brotherhood has been somewhat reduced' to a pagan idea of a fraternity of priestly princes with terms of address and attire contrary to the spirit of brotherhood.

THE CHURCH: THE SPIRIT IN HUMANITY The Church, the Christian brotherhood, is the segment of the human community which confesses that Jesus is the Christ. It



exists for total involvement in the human community, and as a sign of reconciliation in its midst. T


S p ir it

is t h e u n iq u e t e a c h e r o f t r u t h

I will pray to the Father, who will give you another Counselor. The Counselor, the Holy Spirit sent by the Father in my name, will teach you everything, and bring to your memories everything I have told you. He will glorify me in this way: he will give you every­ thing that is mine. Everything the Father has is mine, and he will take what is mine and give it to you. John 14:16, 25-26; 16:14-15 THE CHURCH IS AN EXODUS COMMUNITY, NOT AN ESTABLISHMENT G

od’ s




n o n -r e s id e n t ia l , a

p il g r im

Jesus suffered outside the gates, to make men holy through his blood. Let us leave the camp and go to him, suffering for him. We have no lasting city here; we look for the city that is coming. Hebrews 13:12-14 G


u ses







Abraham obeyed by faith when he was called to a place he would receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was meant to go. He jour­ neyed in the promised land by faith, as though he 133

were a foreigner there, living with Isaac and Jacob there, his fellow-heirs in the promise. He looked for­ ward to the well-founded city, made and built by God. Hebrews 11:8-10 C







im p l ic a t io n s


it s e l f ?

It is the truth I tell you: a grain of wheat must fall into the earth and die, or it'will remain alone. But if it 'dies, it bears abundant fruit He who loves his life in this world loses it; but he who loses his life in this world will have it forever in eternal life. John 12:24-25 Christ must become more; I must become less* See John 3:30 M emo f o r b i s h o p s : t r a v e l l i g h t Don’t take gold, silver, or copper with you; don’t take a bag for the trip, or two coats, or shoes or a staff. The worker will be given what he works for. Matthew 10:9-10 THE CHURCH IS PROPHETIC A prophetic community would discern the presence of the Lord in history. It would be the living, prophetic conscience of a creation which “ groans, waiting to be born." (See Romans 8 :2 2 )



T he

proph et

John went all around the Jordan region, preaching a baptism of repentance, so that sins could be forgiven. As Isaiah writes, “ The voice of a man crying in the wilderness, Make way for the Lord, straighten his path. Every valley will be filled, every mountain and hill leveled. The crooked will be straightened, the rough ways will be smoothed. All flesh shall see God’s salvation.” He told the crowds who came to him for baptism, “You nest of snakes! Who gave you the warn­ ing to flee from the coming wrath?” Luke 3:3-7



proph et

w il l


re je c ted



Jesus said, “What I say to you is true: no prophet is accepted in his own land. But this is true too: there were many widows in Israel when Elijah was here, when the skies were closed three years and six months and there was a great famine. But Elijah was sent to none of them, but instead to Zarephath, in Sidon, to a widow there. And there were many lepers in Israel when Elisha lived here, but not one of them was made clean—only Naaman, who was Syrian.” When they heard this all the people in the synagogue filled with anger. They rose and threw him out of the city, and 135

led him to the edge of the cliff on which the city stood, so that they might throw him off. Luke 4:24-29 Jesus said to them, “A prophet does have some honor ■—except in his own land, and in his family, and in his own house.” . . . He was transfigured in front of them: his garments gleamed with whiteness no bleach on earth could give them. Elijah and Moses appeared, and they talked to Jesuss Mark 6:4 ; 9:2-4 “Elijah has come already,” he told them, “and they did not know him. They had their will with him. And the Son of man will also suffer at their hands,” Then his followers understood that he was talking about John the Baptist. Matthew 17:12-13 He who receives a prophet well, because he is a prophet, will receive himself the reward due a prophet. Matthew 10:41 If

w e r e je c t th e

p rop h et?

If anyone refuses to receive you or listen to you, shake the dust from your feet as you leave that town. On the day of judgement it will go better for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that place. Matthew 10:14-15 136

Jesu s


proph et

When they tried to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, because the people believed him to be a prophet. Matthew 21:46 Fear took them all. They gave glory to God, saying, “A great prophet has come up from the people!” and “ God has visited his people!” Luke 7:16 When the people saw the sign Jesus had done, they said, “Certainly this is the prophet who is supposed to come to the world!” John 6:14 Is t h e C h u r c h a p r o p h e t i c c o m m u n i t y ? You are the Body of Christ, and individually you are His members. And in the church God has chosen apostles first, then prophets, then teachers, then those who work miracles, then healers, helpers, overseers, and people who speak in ecstatic tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 What position do prophets occupy in any of our churches today? Don’t we have an over-supply of teachers, who rank third? ’


He who prophesies speaks to men in a way which builds them up, encouraging and consoling them. 1 Corinthians 14:3 T





proph et


w ell


s o c ia l

servan t

Jesus answered, “The truth is that you seek me not be­ cause of my miracles, but because you ate your fill of the bread I multiplied.” John 6:26 D



e s t a b l is h e d




l ik e

t h is


They will take you to court, and beat you in their churches, and you will be dragged before governors and governments, all for my sake . . . If they call me a demon, what more will they say about you? Matthew 10:17-18, 25 R



s ig n s



t im e s

He said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising on the western horizon you say, ‘It will rain,’ and it does. And when the wind blows from the south you say, ‘It will be hot soon,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the look of the earth and the sky; then why can’t you see what is happening in the present time?”' » Luke 12:54-56

Look at the fig tree—or any tree. When the leaves turn green, you can see that summer is near. So you should know, when you see what is happening now, that the kingdom of God is near. It will come about in this generation! Luke 21:29-32 THE SPIRIT RULES THE CHURCH AS A STRUCTURE Event is never without form. The word became flesh. The community needs specific patterns and structures. But they should be temporary, shaped around human needs. A structure is heretical when it gets in God’s way. C

h r is t is t h e

head of th e




w e

are h is

B ody

The church is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything. Ephesians 1:23 In one body there are many members, and they do not have the same function. In the same way we—though we are many—are one in Christ, one body; and in­ dividually we are members of one another. Our gifts are different according to the grace given us, and we should use them. If we are meant to prophesy, then we should, in proportion to our faith. If we are to serve, then we use that gift in service; if a man is to teach, let him teach; the one who can inspire should 139

inspire; or if a man gives support to the church, let him do that generously. He who helps others should do so zealously, and the merciful man should do his works of mercy cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8 A ll

S h a r e in t h e o n e p r ie s t h o o d : p o w e r t o t h e

p e o p le !

There are many different gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are many kinds of service, but the same Lord. And there are different ways of working, but the same God inspires all of them, in everyone. Each person is given the manifestation of the Spirit which will work best, through him, for the common good . . , All of these gifts come from the same Spirit. He is one, and he gives these gifts to each individual, as he wills . . . The body is not made up of one mem­ ber only, but of many . . . If one member suffers, all suffer as one. If one member is joyful, all rejoice as one. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, * 11, 14, 26 M

em bers



c o m m u n it y

m in is t e r




Pay attention to your needs and the needs of the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians; feed •> 140

God’s Church, which he took to himself with his blood. Acts 20:28 If your brother sins, correct him; and if he repents, forgive him. ' Luke 17:3 Make sure that no one fails to receive God’s grace. Make sure that nothing bitter grows among you to cause trouble and defile many by its presence. Hebrews 12:15 Until I come, see to the public reading of scripture; see to preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 4:13 Confess your sins to one another. Pray for one an­ other’s healing. James 5:16 T


f u n c t io n



m in is t e r

Equip the people of God for work in his service. Ephesians 4:12 T


b is h o p :





S p ir it

A bishop must be hospitable, a lover of what is good, his own master, and self-controlled. He must be firmly faithful to the word as it is taught, to instruct in the true teaching and correct those who go against it. Titus 1:8-9 141

I left you in Crete to correct what was wrong among you, and to appoint elders in every town as I told you. If a man is blameless, has one wife, and his children are among the faithful and not profligate or disobedi­ ent, he may be an elder. A bishop must be without blame in any way. Titus 1:5-7 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders . . . All the assembly were silent. They listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of the signs and wonders done by God among the unbelievers. • Acts 15:4, 12 A

g a in s t

c l e r ic a l is m



h r is t

a b o l is h e s



Beware of the scribes who like to dress well and be well thought of publicly, who take prominent seats in church and take the places of honor at banquets, who exploit the oppressed, and make a pretense of long prayers. They will get the greater condemnation. Mark 12:38-40 There were many priests before Christ, because death prevented them from continuing in office. But his priesthood is permanent: he continues forever. So he is 1421

able for all time to save those who, through him, draw near to God. He always lives, to intercede for them. It is right that we should have such a priest—holy, sin­ less, exalted. . . Hebrews 7:23-26 Christ’s ministry is better than the old: the covenant he mediates is better, based on better promises s . . In speaking of a new covenant he implies that the first covenant is obsolete; growing old, it is ready to vanish . . . He abolishes the first to establish the second. We have been sanctified by God’s will through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 8:6,13; 10:9-10 By a single offering he perfects for all times those who are made holy. Hebrews 10:14 W


p r ie s t s

Simply because I preach the gospel is no reason for my boasting. It is necessary for me to do so: how terrible for me if I do not! If it were simply a matter of my own will, I would be entitled to a reward; but if it is not of my own will, it means that I have been commis­ sioned to do it. What is my reward then? Just this: even though I might be entitled to 'ask for support, in my preaching I make the gospel free. 1 Corinthians 9:16-8 143

You received without having to pay anything; so give, without receiving pay, Matthew 10:8 STYLE OF CHURCH LEADERSHIP: COR­ PORATION EXECUTIVE OR BROTHER­ HOOD? The church leadership must not imitate the corporation exe­ cutive style9 but must be the equivalent of the black tenant farmer, the housemaid, the janitor.

St a t u s s e ek er s

The one who is least among you is greatest. Luke 9:48 So m e t h in g n e w ! So m e o n e h a s f in a l l y g om e t o SERVE, NOT TO BE SERVED

You know that those who supposedly rule the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men rule them. But that is not your way. Whoever would be great in your community must be your servant; he who is first must be your slave. The Son of man came not to be served; he came to serve, and he gave his life, to free many. . Mark 10:42-45 He did not count equality with God as something to be held, but emptied himself. He became a servant. He was bom as a man; and as a man he was humble and obedient—even to the point of death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8 144

You shoulcHJo for one another what I have done for you. The truth I tell you is this: a servant is no greater than his master. John 13:15-16 Corresponding to, “Do this to commemorate m e", we have here, “ Do for one another what I have done for you ” He washed their feet; we must get our hands dirty for others, too.

Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be exam­ ples for them. ‘ 1 Peter 5:3 But

a u t h o r it y


e x is t ,


s e r v ic e




What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven too. Matthew 18:18 Jesus said to them, “ I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.55 Matthew 28:18 We must speak the truth in love, growing in every way towards him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body . * . grows and builds itself in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 145

WHO IS IN AND OUT OF MY CHURCH? Not everyone who calls me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the Kingdom of heaven; the only ones to enter will be those who do what my Father wants them to do. When that day comes there will be many who say, “Lord, Lord! We preached God’s message in your name; we drove out demons and worked miracles!” I will say to them, “ I never knew you. Leave me, workers of evil!”' Matthew 7:21-23 The righteous will ask him, “When did we see you hungry and feed you, or give you something to drink when you were thirsty? When did we take you into our homes or clothe you? When did we nurse you or visit you in jail?” And the King will answer, “When­ ever you helped the least human being, you helped me.” Matthew 25:37-40 “ There was a man who had two sons. He said to the older, ‘Son, go work in the fields today.’ ‘I don’t want to,* the son answered. But he later changed his mind and went to work. The father went to the younger son and asked the same of him. ‘Of course I’ll go, father,’ he answered. But he did not go. Now which of the two did what the father wanted?” They answered, “ The 146

older son.” And Jesus said, “ I tell you: tax collectors and prostitutes will go to the Kingdom of heaven be­ fore you.” Matthew 21:28-31 Two men entered a church for the noonday Mass. •One was a banker who attended regularly; the other was a pimp and drug-pusher, who had somehow stum­ bled in. The banker stood and prayed within himself, “ God, I thank you that I am not like other men—ex­ tortioners, unjust, rapist, or even like this man next to me; he looks like a pimp or something equally dis­ reputable. I fast, I put as much money in the collection as I can.” The other man stayed at the back of the church. He did not feel that he could approach the altar; he did not even feel that he could lift his eyes to heaven. He beat his breast in repentance, saying, “ God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I tell you this man, this pimp^ this drug-pusher, goes home forgiven and made clean; but not the banker. Everyone who has a high opinion of himself will be humbled. And the one who is radically honest about himself will be raised up. See Luke 18:10-14 The banker was a good man and the pimp was a sinner, in the conventional sense. But the pimp made a radical exam­ ination of himself and his life and realized that he was a sin-


ner: the circumstances of his daily life had to change. The banker was blind to his own need for such a self-examination, and relied on the externals of religion,





f a t h e r o f f a it h




r e c e iv e d h i s b l e s s i n g

f r o m a n o u t s id e r

Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought them bread and wine. He was a priest of God most high. He blessed him, saying, “Abraham is blessed by God most high, who made heaven and earth. . . ” Genesis 14:18-19 Elijah was sent to none of Israel’s widows, but to a widow in Sidon; There were lepers in Israel when Elisha lived there, but only Naaman—a Syrian—was made clean. See Luke 4:24-29 HINTS FOR BUILDING COMMUNITY Encourage one another; build one arfother up, as you already do. And we encourage you, brothers; respect those who work among you and are above you, in the Lord, and tell you what you should do. Think well of them, lovingly, because of the work they do. Be peace­ ful together. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13 148

So do not be false; but everyone should speak truth­ fully to his neighbor. We are members of one another. If you are angry, do not let it become sinful; don’t let the sun set on your anger—that gives the devil his op­ portunity. The thief should steal no longer, but work honestly with his hands, to be able to give to the poor. . . . Be kind, gentle, and forgiving to one another, the way God forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:25-28, 32 We know that we have passed from death to life, be­ cause we love the brothers. He who does not love re­ mains dead. 1 John 3:14 An e x a m p l e Do not judge, or you will be judged. You will be judged as you have judged; you will get what you give. How can you see the speck in your brother’s eye, and be unaware of the beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Let me get rid of that speck for you,” when you have that beam in your own eye? Hypocrite! When you have got rid of the beam in your eye you will be able to see clearly enough to take the speck from your brother’s eye. * Matthew 7:1-5 149



m oral

e q u iv a l e n t


w arfare

Accept your share of suffering, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 Jesu s’



r e v o l u t io n :


s u f f e r in g


Behold my servant: I uphold him, my chosen one, who delights my souL I have given him my spirit, he will bring justice to all people. Isaiah 42:1 He grew up before the Lord like a plant, growing new from dry ground. There was nothing wonderful about him to catch our eye, no beauty to be desired. Men despised him, they rejected him. He was a man of sorrows, he knew grief . . . 150

He was despised: we did not know him. He has taken our grief, he has carried our sorrow, and still we thought him cursed, condemned by God, afflicted. But for our sins he was wounded, he was bruised for our wickedness. . . like a lamb, led to the slaughter. Isaiah 53:2-7 I saw a lamb standing, as though it had been killed. . . When he had taken the scroll, they fell before him . they sang a new song: “You are worthy to unseal the scroll, for you were killed: your blood ransomed men for God . . . to the Lamb is blessing, honor, glory, and strength, forever!” Revelation 5:6-13 The Son of man came not to be served; he came to serve, and he gave his life, to free many. Mark 10:45 The next 3ay John the Baptist saw Jesus coming near. “ Behold the Lamb of God!” he said. “ He takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 LOVE WITHOUT LIM IT: THE DYNAMIC OF THE MOVEMENT A LIFE FILLED W IT H LOVE IS A LIFE FILLED W IT H G O D Loved ones, we should love one another. Love is of 151

God: the one who loves is bom of God, and knows God. But the one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. This love of God was shown to us when he sent his only Son into the world, to give us life through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us . . . Loved ones, if God has loved us so much, we should love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made perfect in us. We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his own Spirit. 1 John 4:7-13 God is love: he who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him . . . As he is, we are . . , 1 John 4:16-17 Brothers, you were called to be free. But do not use your freedom as an opportunity to follow your own desires, but serve one another through love. The whole law is summed up in this way: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 I may speak ecstatically, in the language of men or angels; but if I lack love, I am simply making noise. I may prophesy and understand everything, know all 152

the mysteries, and my faith may be enough to move mountains. But without love I am nothing. I may give away everything I own and die a martyr’s death, but unless I have love nothing is gained. Love is patient, kind; love is not jealous, it does not boast, it is not proud or rude. Love doesn’t demand its own way, it is not resentful or moved to irritation. Love does not de­ light in wrong, but right. Love holds all things, be­ lieves all things, hopes for everything, and puts up with everything. Love does not end . . . 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 Our hope will not disappoint us, because through the Holy Spirit the love of God has been poured into our hearts . . . It would be hard enough to die for a just man (though one might dare to die for a good m an); but God’s love for us is shown by the fact that Christ died for us while we were sinners! ' Romans 5:5-8 *

Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God . . . Romans 8:39 Let everything you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 153 '

JOY IN LIVING Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This is the joy of being together, the joy of new discovery, the joy of being and doing, the joy which can even walk hand in hand with affliction. Joy

becau se


l if e




h r is t

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. Behold, I bring you good news of great joy. It will come to all the people! In the city of David, today, a Savior has been bom for you—He is Christ, the Lord! Luke 2:10 Mary’s neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been full of mercy towards her, and all of them rejoiced together. Luke 1:58 Joy



c o m m u n it y

They attended the temple together daily, and broke bread in their homes. They ate happily, with generous hearts. Acts 2:46 Through faith in him we have received this grace in which we stand, and we live joyfully in the hope that we will share God’s glory.. . . We live joyfully in God 154

through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have re­ ceived reconciliation. Romans 5:2, 11 R

e j o ic e

alw ays

Always live joyfully in the Lord; I say it again: live joyfully! Let everyone see your openness: the Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5 T




h r is t





jo y

Now I am coming to you. I say these things in this world, so that they might have my joy filled up in them. John 17:13 J o y in h a r d tim e s



I live happily in my suffering, for your sake. Colossians 1:24 They left the council together, happy that they were considered worthy to suffer for the name. Acts 5:41 Accept it all as joy, brothers, when you are afflicted in various ways, because you know when your faith is tested the result is firmness. James 1:2 155

HOPE: WHICH WAITS FOR WHAT FAITH BELIEVES Brothers, don’t grieve for the dead the way hopeless men do, ' 1 Thessalonians 4:13 We know that until the present time all of nature groans with pains like the pain of giving birth. But it is not nature alone: we too have the Spirit as the first of God’s gifts. We also groan within ourselves, waiting for God to make us his sons and set us free. For we were saved in hope—but hope which we can see is not really hope. How can a man hope for what he secs? A Ror&ans 8:22-24 O




Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us in every suffering, so that we cannot comfort other sufferers with the comfort he gives us. We share generously in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, and through him we share in comfort, generously.. . . Our hope for you is absolute: we know that just as you share our suffering you will share our comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 156






in g d o m

The sufferings of the present can’t even be compared with the glory that will be shown to us! Nature longs eagerly for God to reveal his sons. . . Nature will have the freedom of God’s own children. Romans 8:18-19, 21 Christ is first, and then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then the end comes: he will give the king­ dom to God the Father, after all rule, authority and power are destroyed by him . . . When everything is under him, the Son himself will be under the one who gave him everything: and God will be everything to everyone. 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 Christ died and lived again for this purpose: so that he could be the Lord of both the dead and the living. Romans 14:9 FAITH He asked them, “Why are you afraid, men of little faith?” And he rose and calmed the seas and the winds. Matthew 8:26 Even if your faith is only the size of a mustard seed, you will be able to say to this mountain, “Move from 157

here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be im­ possible for you. Matthew 17:20 If you have faith, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Matthew 21:22 Everything is possible to the man who believes. Mark 9:23

If Christ is not risen, what we tell you is useless, and your faith is useless. 1 Corinthians 15:14 HOLINESS You are to be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfects Matthew 5:48 God has not chosen us for an unclean life, but for holi­ ness. Whoever pays no attention to this does not refuse his attention to man, but to God. And he gives you his Holy Spirit.. . . You have been taught by God to love one another. 1 Thessalonians 4:7-9 158

Because he who chose you is holy, be holy yourselves, in everything you do. 1 Peter 1:15 PATIENCE: WAITING FOR GOD Makrothumia, the classical Greek for patience, is also the spirit which will neither recognize. nor admit defeat.

Be strong with all the power of his glorious strength, to endure everything and be joyfully patient. Colossians 1:11 Imitate those who inherit the promises through faith and patience . . . Abraham waited patiently, and re­ ceived the promise. Hebrews 6:12, 15 So be patient, brothers, until the Lord comes. See how the farmer waits for the good harvest^ patient until after both the early and late rains. You should be pa­ tient too. Brothers, take as an example of patience and suffering the prophets who spoke for tlie Lord. James 5:7-8, 10 KINDNESS AND GENTLENESS Be kind and gentle to one another, forgiving one an­ other as God forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32 159

WISDOM We give a secret, hidden wisdom of God, which he sent forth before time began for our glorification. . . . The Spirit searches even the depths of God. . . . We have not been given the spirit of the world, but we have received the Spirit God gives us to understand the gifts he himself has given. 1 Corinthians 2:7, 10, 12 May he illuminate your hearts, so that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches he gives his faithful as their inheritance, and the unknowable greatness of his power in those of us who believe be­ cause of his great work . . . Ephesians 1:17-19 Walk carefully, not as foolish men but as wise men. Make the most of the present moment: the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15 WE MUST LIVE IN THE OPEN, NOT UNDER­ GROUND Jesus answered, “ I have always spoken openly, to everyone. I always taught where Jews gathered, in the synagogues and the temple. I have kept nothing secret . . .” John 18:20 160

What I tell you in darkness, say in the light! What you hear whispered, shout from the rooftops! Matthew 10:27 BE PLAYFUL, AT REST, EVEN ABSURD F ools

The fool for Christ holds a prophetic role in Christianity, from the early church to Russian Orthodox “ pilgrims” and such later fools as Luther, Kierkegaard, and Dostoevsky, who were seekers after the true, the good, the holy, the beautiful. They were insane, not in a clinical sense but in the madness of the Holy, an insanity which ordinary sanity refuses to admit.

If any one of you thinks that he is wise at this time, let him become a fool in order to become really wise. What the world considers wise is foolishness to God. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19"" We are fools for the sake of Christ. . . We have be­ come, and we are now, the world’s garbage; we have become what everything refuses. 1 Corinthians 4:10, 13 To those who are not being saved the cross is sheer foolishness. But to us, who are being saved, it is God’s 161

own power. Scripture says, “ I will destroy what the wise consider wisdom . . 1 Corinthians 1:18 The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger . . . God chose what the world looks down on and despises, to reduce the present world to nothing. 1 Corinthians 1:25, 28 Playfu ln ess

Lord, your works are, everywhere! You have made them all in wisdom . . . Over there is the great and wide ocean, teeming with life, with big and little creatures;. . . You made Leviathan to play with . . » Psalm 104:24-26 Is creation God’s playground— a huge dance, play, laugh, song? Nietzsche said that he found it impossible to believe in a God ” who did not dance.” “ Waste time” : be free occa­ sionally for the sake of-God from useful work, even service.

Martha’s sister Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to him. Martha was bothered by this; she had a lot of work to do, and she went to Jesus and said, “Doesn’t it matter to you, Lord, that my sister Mary has left me to do this work alone? Tell her to help me.” The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry so much about so many things! But only one thing is necessary; 162

Mary has chosen the best thing, and it will not be taken away from her.” . Luke 10:39-41 CAREFREE LIFE Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your clothes, what you will wear. Life is more than food, isn’t it? And isn’t the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow or reap or store. But your Father in heaven feeds them. Are not you more valuable than they? And which of you can add one moment more to his life by worrying about it? Why do you worry about clothes? Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow; they don’t work or weave cloth. But even Solomon at the height of his splendor was not as beautiful as they. If God clothes the grass that way—grass which is alive today and burned tomorrow—won’t he take more care to clothe you, men of litte faith? So do not be anxious, asking “ What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?” Unbelievers worry over those things; your Father in heaven knows you need them all. First, search for his Kingdom and his goodness; then all the rest will be yours too. Don’t worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will worry about itself. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34 163

Let your hope keep you joyful and patient even in times of trouble. Pray always. Share what you have with your poor brothers; let your homes be open to strangers. Ask God to bless those who hurt you—yes, ask him to bless them, not curse them. Rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and cry with those who are crying. Romans 12:12-15 T


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Come to me, you who labor and carry heavy loads. I will give you rest.. . . I am gentle, humble, and your souls will find rest. The way I guide you is easy, and the load I give you is light. Matthew 11:28-30 Do n o t f e a r Do not be afraid, little flock. Your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom. Luke 12:32 Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. John 14:27_ Do not fear those who can only kill the body. What more can they do after that? The one to fear is the one who, after he has killed, can send you to hell. ' 164

Yes, fear him! Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? But every sparrow is remembered by God. He knows even the number of hairs on your head! So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrowss Luke 12:4-7 CHRISTIAN BECOMING “W

e a r e a lw a y s b e co m in g C h r is t ia n s .” — K ie r k e ­


My prayer is that your love may grow more and more, with knowledge and insight, so that you may accept what is excellent, and be pure and sinless when Christ comes. Philippians 1:9-10 I do not mean to say that I have already received the fullness of the resurrection or that I am already per­ fect. But I go forward to make it my own, because Jesus Christ has made me his own. Brothers, I do not believe that I have made it my own. But the one thing I do is this: I forget what is in my past and strain forward to the future, to the prize of the call God gives us to move upward in Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:12-14 165

Leave all ill-will, bad feeling, and slander and jeal­ ousy. Like newly born babies, long for that pure spiritual milk you need to grow towards salvation; be­ cause you have tasted the Lord’s kindness. 1 Peter 2:1-3 I am free from all men, but I have become the slave of all, to win them. I am a Jew to Jews, to win them; I become a man outside the Jewish law to win those who live outside of the Law. I am weak for the sake of the weak. I am all things to all men, so that I might save some of them. And I do all this for the sake of the Good News, so that I can share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 WITNESS: DOING THE TRUTH Make them holy in the truth. Your Word is truth. You sent me into the world; in the same way, I send them into the world. It is for their sake that I consecrate myself, so that they too may be consecrated in truth. But I do not pray only for them; I pray also for those who will believe in me, because of their word. May all of them be one. As you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, may they be in us too, so that the world may believe that you sent me. John 17:17-21 166

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. You will be my witnesses—everywhere on earth. Acts 1:8 He told them, “ It is written that the Chosen One should suffer and rise from the Head on the third day, and repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be preached everywhere in his name. You are the witnesses of these things.”Luke 24:46-48



Live good lives with unbelievers, so that in case they call you criminals they may see your good works and give glory to God when he comes.. . . It is God’s will that by doing right you silence the ignorant. 1 Peter 2:12, 15 Don’t have anything to Ho with foolish and ignorant controversies. You know that they are a source of quarrels. The servant of the Lorcf must be kind to everyone, not quarrelsome; he must be a good teacher, patient, gently correcting those who disagree. God may allow them to turn their lives around and know the truth, so that they might escape the Evil One . . . 2 Timothy 2:23-26 167

We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God makes his appeal through us. We ask you, we plead on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 Everyone who does evil fears the light and will not enter it, fearing that the evil works will be exposed. But the man who does what is true enters the light, so that it may be seen clearly that his works are made in God* John 3:20-21 FASTING When you fast, do not look sa’d like the hypocrites: they let their fasting show on their faces, for men to see. I tell you the truth: they have their reward. But when you fast anoint your head, wash your face. Your fasting \vill not be seen by men, but by God. Your Father sees in secret: he will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18 This sort of Evil Spirit does not leave unless you pray and fast. Matthew 17:21 Should the guests at a wedding fast while the bride­ groom is still with them? The time will come when 168

the bridegroom is taken away; they will fast in those days. Luke 5:34, 35 PRAYER: A BOLD AND OUTRAGEOUS IN­ TRUSION INTO THE LIFE OF GOD—RABBI ABRAHAM HESCHEL Lord, I love your dwelling, your house, the place where your glory lives. * Psalm 26:8 Prayer is the search for God. “ Be still, and know that I am God33 (Psalm 46:10Jlsay the Christian and the Jew. And a Zen poem would put it this way: “ Sitting still and doing nothing, spring comes, the grass grows by itself39

He said to them, “ Gome away to a lonely place; rest for a time.” Mark 6:31 Prayer

is p a t ie n c e in s t r u g g l e

You do not have because you do not ask; and when you ask you do not receive. The reason for this is that you ask in the wrong way; you wish to spend what you receive on your own desires! James 4:2-3 Now Elijah was a man like us. He prayed strongly to keep rain from the earth, and it didn’t rain for three 169

years and six months. Then he prayeH again, and the heavens rained, the earth blossomed. James 5:17-18 T

r u e p r a y e r is s im p l e

Do not be like the hypocrites when you pray. They love to stand praying in church and on streetcomers, to be seen. I tell you the truth: they have their reward! But when you pray, go into your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is hidden. Your Father, who sees what is hidden, will reward you. And when you pray, don’t use a lot of empty words as Gentiles do. They think that God is bound to hear so many words! Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need even before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8 T


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I will So whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father will be given glory in the Son . * . Keep my commandments if you love me. And I will ask the Father, and he will send you another Counselor, who will be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth s . . You know him: he lives in you. John 14:15-17 170

ine spirit neips us D eca u se we are weaK. vve uo nui know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit him­ self prays in us, with a yearning which cannot be said in words. Romans 8:26 H

y p o c r is y in


The religion which your God and Father accepts as pure and spotless is this: visit widows and orphans in their suffering, and do not allow the world to corrupt you. James 1:27 He taught them, “Beware of the scribes who like to dress well and be well thought of publicly, who take prominent seats in church and take the places of honor at banquets, who exploit the oppressed, and make a pretense of long prayers. They will get the greater condemnation. Mark 12:38-40 Pray

w i t h y o u r w h o l e l if e

Address one another with psalms and hymns. Sing, make melody to the Lord with all your heart, thanking God always for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20 171

Does any one of you suffer? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praise. Is anyone sick? Then call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him . . . the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him. He will be forgiven, if he has sinned. Confess your sins to one another. Pray for one another . 8 . James 5:13-16 Always be joyful, pray always, give thanks for every­ thing that happens, because this is what God, in Jesus Christ, wants you to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


FATHERS OF THE REVOLUTION We include this section, made up of writings from the early church, to show that in the foregoing we have not simply chosen those texts which correspond to our own world view. Accepting the Word of God set members of the early church radically apart from the existing social structures. What seemed radical to non-believers than would seem, unfortu­ nately, equally radical to most contemporary church-goers. The early church was communist in the broadest sense: Christians did not believe in exclusive ownerships property. They owned all things in common; the poor received what they needed from the common holdings. Christians were absolutely non-violent and opposed to any war. Many of the martyrs died because they refused to shed blood. And the liberation of the poor and oppressed was a cardinal tenet of Christian belief and practice. Finally, Christians knew that belief and practice were meant to be one. The church did not then— and should not now— see the Sermon on the Mount and the other radical teachings of Jesus as consolation or something given for endless inter­ pretation; those words were meant to be lived, to become flesh. The Spirit of Christ sets us against a view of life which


tolerates oppression as a necessary evil. W e must be changed radically; we must work for radical change. And the change we must work for is the true liberation of every human beings

CHRISTIAN COMMUNISM We who share one min'd and soul obviously have no misgivings about community in property. Tertullian All things belong to God, who is our Father and the Father of all things. We are all of the same family; all of us are brothers. And among brothers it is best and most equal that all inherit equal portions. , St Gregory- of Nyssa Share everything with your brother. Do not say, “It is private property.” If you share what is everlasting, you should be that much more willing to share things which do not last The Didache Give a loaf of bread yourself; someone else can give a cup of wine, and another can give clothes. In this way one man’s property is relieved by your joint effort St Gregory of Nyssa The rich take what belongs to everyone, and claim they have the right to own it, to monopolize it St. Basil

AGAINST THE OPPRESSORS OP THE POOR I am criticized often for my continual attacks upon the rich. Yes: because the rich continually attack the poor. St. John Chrysostom You have a thousand excuses for robbing your brother. “His house stands in my lights” you say; or, “ Only tramps go there.” You force them to move . . » St. John Chrysostom It isn’t because the affluent are unable to provide food easily that men go hungry; it is because the affluent are cruel and inhuman c . . Every day the church here feeds 3000 people. Besides this, the church daily helps provide food and clothes for prisoners, the hospi­ talized, pilgrims, cripples, churchmen, and others. If only ten people were willing to do this, there wouldn’t be a single poor man left in town. St. John Chrysostom Those who oppress the poor must know that their sentence is heavier because of those they try to hurt. The more they press their power over these wretched lives, the more terrible their future condemnation and punishment will be, " St. Isidore 175

Some think that the Old Testament is stricter than the New, but they judge wrongly; they are fooling them­ selves. The old law did not punish the desire to hold on to wealth; it punished theft. But now the rich man is not condemned for taking the property of others; rather, he is condemned for not giving his own property away. St. Gregory the Great What keeps you from giving now? Isn’t the poor man there? Aren’t your own warehouses full? Isn’t the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry man is dying now, the naked man is freezing now, the man in debt is beaten now—and you want to wait until tomorrow? “ I’m not doing any harm,” you say. “ I just want to keep what I own, that’s all.” Your own! . . , You are like someone who sits down in a theater and keeps everyone else away, saying that what is there for everyone’s use is his own. . . . If everyone took only what he needed and gave the rest to those in need, there would be no such thing as rich or poor. After all, didn’t you come into life naked; and won’t you return naked to the earth? St Basil Who is the greedy man? One for whom plenty does not suffice. Who defrauds others? One who keeps for 176

himself what belongs to everyone. Aren’t you greedy, don’t you defraud, when you keep for yourself what was given for giving away? When someone steals a man’s clothes we call him a thief. Shouldn’t we give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? St, Basil The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the man who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has no shoes; the money which you put in the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help, but fail to help. St. Basil You may say, “Words are all right; but gold is better.’* Talking to you is like talking to a lustful man about chastity: when one says something against his keeping a mistress the mention of her name only goes to heat up his lust. How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping? St. Basil The bread which the rich eat belongs to others more than to them. They live on stolen goods. What they pay comes from what they have seized.. *. You have 177

gold dug up from the mines, only to re-bury it And how many lives are buried with it! And this wealth is kept for whom? For your heir, who waits idly to receive i t . . . It is not the poor who are cursed, but the rich. Scripture says of the rich, not of the poor, that the man who increases the price of com will be cursed . . . Who is the wise man? The one who shows compassion to the poor, who sees the poor as natural members of his family. St Ambrose It is the poor who mine gold, though they are denied gold; they are forced to work for what they cannot keep. St. Ambrose Wealth1, which leads men the wrong way so often, is seen less for its own qualities than for the human misery it stands for. The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds—and also big enough to shut out the voice of the poor. True, even if the voice were heard it would be ignored. . . . The poor man cries before your house, and you pay no attention. There is your brother, naked, crying! and you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering. St Ambrose 178 \

You have the power to save so many from 'death, but you do not care to do so—and the price of the ring on your hand could save the lives of a multitude! St. Ambrose You who save and those for whom you save will pass away. But “will pass away” implies some permanence now; rather, you are already passing. You came to hear a sermon, to get some spiritual wealth. But your thoughts are with temporal things. Well, did you bring it here with you? A lot of men have returned home to find their treasure stolen;—did some greedy hearts beat faster then? . . . You ask me, “ How can I put my treasure in heaven?” Give it to the poor . . . Have you forgotten what I told you? “What you have done to the least of mine, you have done to me.” St. Augustine Property is theft, t St. Basil THE CHURCH IS THE CHURCH OF THE POOR The Lord ate from a common bowl, and asked the dis­ ciples to sit on the grass. He washed their feet, with a towel wrapped around his waist—He, who is the Lord of the universe! He drank water from a jug of 179

earthenware, with the Samaritan woman, Christ made use his aim, not extravagance. St. Clement When the Son of Man comes in majesty, when he sits on the throne of glory, when all people are gathered and he divides the good from the bad, what praise will he give those on his right hand? He will praise them only for works of kindness and charity; he will hold them as done for himself. Because the one who made our nature his own Hid not hold himself back in any way from the most simple human thing. And what curse will be for those on the left hand? Only that they neglected love; that they were inhumanly harsh and denied mercy to the oppressed. It is as though there were no other virtues with the first group, and as though there were no other sins than those of the other. St. Leo the Great Let us abandon luxury. We will not regret it. Tertullian The price of the kingdom is the food you give to those who need it. St. Leo the Great 180

Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead. St. John Chrysostom We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments of good in the hands of those who use them properly. St. Clement Houses of hospitality must be built for the poor in every city of every diocese. Council of Nicaea Every family should have a room where Christ is wel­ come in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger. St. John Chrysostom NONVIOLENCE AND THE STATE If a murder is committed privately it is considered a crime. But if it happens with the authority of the state, they call it courage! St. Cyprian St. Gregory’s explanation of the reasons for which Matthew, after Christ’s invitation, did not return to collecting taxes for the state, even though Peter returned to fishing: -


“ There are many trades in which a man can hardly work, or simply canno,t work, without sinning.” If anyone studying to be a Christian, or any one of the faithful, wants to become a soldier, let him be turned away .. . Christian soldiers are not to kill, even if commanded to . . . Christians are not to become soldiers voluntarily . . . He who carries a sword must be sure that he does not shed blood. If he does shed blood, he must not participate in the sacraments. From the canonical decrees compiled by St. Hyppoclitus We Christians do not bear arms against any country; we do not make war anymore. We have become chil­ dren of peace, and Jesus is our leader. Origen In times past heathens and barbarians made war . . . but when they received Christ’s teaching (and this is really admirable) they Were wise enough to end the violent slaughter. Now they do not care for war. They have at heart only constant peace and friendliness. ' St. Athanasius


He asks soldiers of the Peaceful King of kings to renounce all arms . . . he insists: “Those who seek peace are not to use the sword or any weapons.” Clement of Alexandria Why is there strife, anger, lack of unity, and war among you? Don’t we have one God, one Christ? Isn’t one Holy Spirit given to all of us? We are all called to the unity of Christ. Why 3o members of Christ tear one another this way—are we mad, rebelling against our own body? Have we forgotten that we are all members of one another? Pope St. Clement I Even if others make war against us, it is right for vis to remain in peace. St. John Chrysostom It is certainly a greater and more wonderful work to change the minds of enemies, bringing about a change of soul, than to kill them. St. John Chrysostom GOD AND THE CHURCH One can only have a simple knowledge of God, be­ yond all words, ideas, colors, pictures, or namess This ignorance is greater than all knowledge. St* Isaac the Syrian 183

All the power of the evil one was torn away in the presence of the Spirit. St. Basil He is the Spirit of God . . . Christ’s mind, the Spirit of truth and freedom. He is the creative Spirit, who makes all things new. He knows all, and teaches; he goes where he wishes . . . He reveals, illuminates, gives life its impulse, and deifies man . . . He makes proph­ ets, apostles, and teachers. St. Basil The Holy Spirit is present completely in every human person. He is everywhere whole, and shared without being divided. According to what we can give as human beings, we participate in the Spirit. St. Basil On the Lord’s Hay, gather in community to break bread and offer thanks. But confess your sins first, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. No one who has a quarrel with his brother may join your gathering; not until they are reconciled. Your sacrifice must not be made unholy. The Didache Christians love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt 184

them. If a man has something, he gives freely to the man who has nothing. If they see a stranger, Chris­ tians take him home and are happy, as though he were a real brother. They don’t consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit, in God. And if they hear that one of them is in jail, or persecuted for professing the name of their redeemer, they all give him what he needs. If it is possible, they bail him out. If one of them is poor and there isn’t enough food to go around, they fast several days to give him the food he needs . . . This is really a new kind of person. There is something divine in them. Aristides, a non-Christian, defending the Chris­ tians before Hadrian Wherever there are three persons, even though they are laymen, there is the church. Every man lives by his own faith; and God does not distinguish between classes. If, in cases of necessity, you have the right to act as a priest, then you must also accept priestly dis­ cipline. . . . It is God’s will that all of us should be in the right state, at any time or place, to administer his sacraments. Tejrtullian 185

Go3 is not 'part of existence; men take part in God. Origen Fellowship with God is light and life . . . to be separates! from God is death. Irenaeus Man first must come into being, and then progress; by progressing he comes to manhood, and he grows in manhood; growing, he goes forward—he goes for­ ward to his glory, and the sight of God. God’s will is that he should be seen; and to see God is to have everlasting life, and it is everlasting life which brings man close to God. Irenaeus I have heard some say, “ I will not believe it unless I can find the good news in Scripture.” And when I answered, “ It IS in Scripture,” they answered, “You’ll have to prove that.” But for me Jesus IS Scripture. The scriptures which cannot be overcome are his cross, death, and resurrection, and faith through him. Irenaeus . “ See,” they say, “ how Christians love one another.” They themselves hate one another. “ See how willing they arc to die for one another,” they say; because 186

they will kill one another without any qualms. They criticize us because we call each other “Brother.” The reason they do so is, I am sure, that the name of any human relationship is simple affectation with them s. . Tertullian I will show you several things; but I do not wish to do this as a teacher—rather, as one of you, loving each one of you separately and all of you together, more than my own life. I really want to write not as a teacher, but as your slave, who loves you. The Epistle of Barnabas For your sake I am a bishop. Together with you I am a Christian; and I am a sinner, with you, and together with you I am a disciple and hear the good news. St. Augustine I do not decide things using my own judgement; not without the approval of the people. v St. Cyprian We should not be set apart from others by our dress, but by our conversation and the style of our life. Pope Celestine 1 Even in the celebration of the liturgy the Bishop merely wore clean clothes. A special dress for clergymen was not intro­ duced until the 5th century.



If a prophet stays too long he is a false prophet. When the apostle leaves, let him have only enough bread to take him to his next stop. If he asks for money he is a false prophet. . . . Not everyone whose speech is ecstatic and spiritual is a prophet; he is a real prophet only if his ways are the Lord’s ways. The false and the true prophets are known by the ways they live . . . If a prophet tells you the truth but does not live up to his own teaching, he is a false prophet. The •Didache Choose for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, humble men who do not want wealth, men who are sincere and approved. They serve you as prophets and teachers:, do not look down on them. The Didache Make sure that your Eucharist is one. There is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to make us one in his blood. St. Ignatius of AntiocH This is the first recorded m e of the word "eucharist” — that is, “ thanksgiving*— for the sacrament of unity. It refers to the Agape (a word which signifies the love which descends from God), the common meal shared by Christians in Apostolic times, in whichthe Eucharist was embedded.


CHRISTIANITY TRANSCENDS THE CHRIS­ TIAN CHURCH When the world as we know it has passed away, and man, renewed, is ready for immortality . . . then will be the “new heaven and the new earth” . They will be new, and man will live in them, always new, in fellow­ ship with God. Irenaeus We are taught that Christ is God’s first bom; we have said that he is the Word—that is, the reason—in whom the whole human race shares. Those who have lived in Reason are Christians, even though they were called atheists. This is true among the Greeks, for in­ stance, of Socrates and Heraclitus; and among nonGreeks, of Abraham . . . St. Justin Where the church is, the Spirit of GoH is. And where the Spirit of God is, the church is, with every grace. The Spirit of God is truth. Irenaeus THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE WAY OF CHRIST ARE THE SOUL OF THE WORLD Christians are, in the world, what the soul is to the body. The soul exists in every part of the body, and 189

there are Christians in every part of the world. . . . The soul loves the body, even though the body hates it; Christians love those who hate them. Even though the soul imprisons the body, it keeps the body alive. And Christians are kept imprisoned by the world, but they keep it alive. Letter to Diognetus THE WILLINGNESS TO DIE FOR THE CAUSE I die for Christ because I choose to, unless you keep me back. Please, do not show me the wrong sort of compassion. Let them give me to the wild beasts— through them I can draw close to God! I am God’s wheat: I am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, to be manifest as pure bread! St. Ignatius of Antioch Finally— and this is the beginning and the end— the face of the Lord, the face of Jesus, is. seen in the suffering, the oppressed, the pqor. It is the face of all humanity. It is the face of any man« ♦

“ I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger; you didn’t welcome me; naked, and you gave me no clothes; sick and in jail, and you didn’t visit me.” Then they will ask, “ Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked, or sick and in jail; when 190