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“The Jesus experience that dominates the gospels sets aside human prejudice – against Samaritans, against lepers, against women – because human wholeness can never be found in the denigration of another.

The Jesus of the gospels transcends the boundaries of religion in the name of humanity, best symbolised in the words attributed to him that all religious rules are finally in the service of expanded humanity. Even the Sabbath day laws are to be set aside if they ever diminish human life (Mark 2:27).

These were the things that seemed to flow from the life of this Jesus, bearing witness to the fact that his humanity was full, complete and free. He did not need the sweet narcotic of human praise in order to be whole. He did not have to build himself up by tearing down another or even lording it over another.

He embraced everyone just as he or she was, from the man known as the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17 – 22) to the leper, called unclean by the assumption of his religion expressed throughout the gospels, to the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8 1-11).  He loved them into being all that they could be …”

Extract from ‘Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World’ by John Shelby Spong…

As we begin our Holy Week journey, our thoughts turn to the Surrendered Jesus – the Jesus who in his full and courageous humanity faced his accusers in order to die to self in service of others. In this final week of preparation perhaps we too can look at our lives and ask the question, ‘where can I die to self in order to be alive for others?’