“Journal Notes” submitted by home groups from Study Three: What is the Good News? Jesus and the Margins
submitted June 25:
If everything is right with God then you are in the “zone” – life is easier even when in midst of difficulties e.g. a recent bereavement.
One of us working at the margins saw evidence of God at work recently when a client was able to give a speech without preparation – an amazing transformation through the 12 week course.
Another group member working at the margins sees miracles similar to those in Jesus’ day but they involve slow hard work and are expensive – Jesus spoke and they happened!
Working with people at the margins (and ourselves!) – it’s about getting us more in line with the unconscious and conscious.
Evangelism and social transformation go together – the man healed at the pool was told by Jesus to go and sin no more.
The Kingdom of God is both now (Jesus in his incarnation became part of, as well as an eternal presence in, our world) and not yet (we still await its fulfillment).
Is it a hand out or a hand up? – people on the margins need a hand up
submitted June 19:
A common theme from the quotes of ‘poor people’ is the cumulative nature of their current financial distress. Many report a series of events over which they thought they had no power. This led to a downward spiral which became harder to battle against. They had no expectation of support or intervention or assistance from friends, family or neighbours, but noted failure of agency support or assistance.
We noted from Bible readings that God links ‘poor in spirit’ alongside financial wealth.
‘Shalom’ (peace, quiet trust, security) can be accessed through the Father by one Spirit. This is not dependent on one’s financial situation – e.g. Rich people may not necessarily find shalom and people of little wealth may.
Evangelism vs Social Justice:
We thought the two go hand-in-hand – that the Good News must be proclaimed in both word and deed.
submitted May 18:
We discussed the meaning of “the Kingdom” (as in the Lord’s prayer) and whether it is in the past, the future or perhaps even today.
We also talked about what we considered property to be, and whether hope was in fact Jesus?
We also pondered the question of whether (as a church) we follow the evangelistic route or whether a more holistic approach would be a better way of taking care of others. Also where is God, where can we find God, where is he at work?
submitted April 19:
Love at the margins needs to be an accepted way of looking at
things from all of us; it needs to be a positive way of thinking and living, both from those who are in need, and those offering the hand of loving friendship.
The process cannot have borders put around it; it must be the
spiritual equivalent of ‘Medecins sans frontier’, (‘Love sans frontier’). This is not always confined to those of us calling ourselves Christian.
Sin creates a human barrier on both sides of the divide: it has an
effect on both those in need and also on those who could provide the answers. Our faith in the redeeming sacrifice of Christ can overcome this.
The Christian message is characterized by our responsibility to
care for those in need, and we are provided with the gifts of the Spirit to do so.
submitted April 13:
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”—Maybe God’s will is to be seen as both a practical transformation of individuals, society; and a spiritual transformation of our innermost soul and hearts – (believers and non-believers alike) as to how we relate, interact and carry out our faith walk with focusssing on Love at the Margins.
Jesus is known as: “Wonderful Counsellor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace” (shalom). I think this points to the crux of “The Good News”. We have all this availiable to us as Christians every day. If we can demonstrate this good news in our interactions with those who are lonely, hungry, powerless and rich, powerful and successful alike, then his Good News can flourish in a community that has community.