The Jewish rules of kashrut, the kosher rules, were to ensure purity and separation. They were to keep the Jews safe from being diluted or dirty. The rules reminded them they were separate and special. There were other, similar rules that ensured that they kept apart from people who were not Jewish. These rules created lines of “us and them” and demarcated what was “other”.
Jesus came to erase those lines. He says that there are no distinctions between secular and sacred, between earthly and heavenly. He says in the lingo of today that “It’s all good”.
And it is all good. God looked at the world after he made it and said it was good. God made and continues to make the world. If we believe in a good and loving God, we have to believe that God will only make good things, and that includes people.
They may not seem good to us at the time. They may in fact seem very bad and broken. But if we have accepted Jesus into our hearts and lives, we have to believe that they are in fact good at the core, because Jesus believes that.
Jesus came to say that nothing is broken and nothing is dirty. Jesus came to say that everything is safe. Jesus showed us by getting right in the middle of the world that it is safe.
Jesus touched lepers and didn’t get leprosy. By touching them, he not only healed their condition, he healed their relationship with the community. They were no longer excluded.
Jesus says that when we separate ourselves, when we play it safe, we aren’t being love made visible. He says we aren’t showing trust in God as a loving God when we exclude others.
Jesus came to join together heaven and earth, God and humans. Jesus came to heal all divisions. When we divide, when we exclude, when we limit, we are not being like Jesus. We are operating out of fear instead of love. We are saying that our decisions keep us safe. We are saying that rules keep us safe.
When we do this, we are taking our lives into our own hands instead of putting them in God’s hands.