Jesus was constantly breaking the rules. He especially broke the purity rules. Nobody and nothing was unclean or unworthy. His arms were wide enough for everybody.
He talked to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jews and Samaritans never talked to each other. He actually asked her for water. He didn’t obey the traditions that had been part of their upbringings.
He touched a woman who was menstruating. This was unheard of. Even today in Orthodox Jewish culture, women and men sit separately just in case a woman is on her period. Even married couples will sleep in separate beds during a woman’s period and for a week afterwards. For Jesus to touch a woman at all was unheard of.
Jesus touched lepers. Nobody touched lepers. To touch a leper is to become a leper. Lepers had to live outside of the camp for fear of infecting everybody.
Jesus didn’t only touch the untouchables, he hung out with them. He hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. He hung out with everybody who was nobody. He picked untrained people to be his disciples.
Jesus didn’t choose the educated, the upper class, the elite, the well to do. Jesus didn’t choose the best of the best. He chose the leftovers, the forgotten, the ignored.
Jesus chooses us, too.
Jesus chooses you and me. With our embarrassing laugh and weird fashion sense, he thinks we are cool. With our cowlicks and acne, he thinks we are beautiful, just like we are.
And we, Jesus’ chosen, are to do the same. We are to see the beauty in others. We are to include the excluded. We are to welcome the stranger, the misfit, the weirdo.
There are no misfits with Jesus. He loves us all, and we are to extend that same love and acceptance to everyone. In the same way that we are loved and chosen, we are to love and choose others.
(Written on retreat, 1-17-14, 7:45 pm)