19. If this were a Stephen King influenced calendar, this would be a huge day. Instead, we will discuss the Separatist Shuttle. They were in all of the prequel movies. It was a short-range shuttle often used by high ranking officials.
They had a distinct design with their landing gear, making it possible to only land on hard ground. The reason for this was due to individuals not willing to deal with the poor or underdeveloped worlds. Sounds like many of us.
Sure, we like to talk a good game about caring for the poor and impoverished parts of our community, but when it is time to act on those words we don’t. We show ourselves to be hypocrites. Or, we say we want to work and support those who are of a different culture than our own, but when it is time to do something tangible we shrink away.
Thanks goodness Jesus wanted to do away with this idiocy, prejudice, hypocrisy and pride. In the Gospels he intentionally engages with people of different races, women, the poor, the unclean, the forgotten…the sinners. He was a King for all because he is the King of all. A redeemer for everyone and not just a select few. He came to give life and hope to everyone, and not just the faux-religious of his own culture and people.
I’ve said it a lot throughout this advent calendar, but it can’t be overstated. Jesus was born in one of the poorest ways possible. This was intentional. His birth was for all, and we saw this with the angels announcing his birth to shepherds. He grew up poor in a community that was looked down upon by others. He came to identify and connect with all, not just the religious community.
It’s easy for us to pillory the Pharisees throughout the Gospels and their separation from those who were in desperate need. But we need to be careful not to do the same in more subtle ways. Two years ago, the church I work at launched a campus at the local county jail. After this, I was at a church meeting where someone asked if the inmates would end up at the main campus after they left jail. The tone they used, and the implication with it, was do we have to welcome them to our church? It was one thing to say we support people who are far away from us that are real “sinners”, but some people’s true feelings were revealed when we said we’d welcome the inmates to our campuses once they were released.
We can’t have such separation if we are followers of Jesus. Jesus came “not for the healthy but the sick”. (Matthew 9:12 paraphrase) We need to be willing to engage with everyone. Yes, there are moments of tension, but it’s better than pretending everything is fine when it is not. May we not isolate ourselves from those who are truly in need. Thank you Jesus for being our example when it comes to this.