In his book, Being Disciples – Essentials Of The Christian Life, Rowan Williams writes the following concerning the equal value of every human being to God:
“For the Christian disciple, human dignity – and therefore any notion of human rights – depends upon the recognition that every person is related to God before they are related to anything or anyone else. This means that whenever I face another human being, I face a mystery. There is a level of their life, their existence, where I cannot go and which I cannot control, because it exists in relation to God alone – a secret word speaks to each one, whether they hear or refuse to hear, in the phrase from the prophecy of Ezekiel. The reverence I owe to every human person is connected with the reverence I owe to God, who brings them into being and keeps them in being. I stand before holy ground when I encounter another person – not because they are born with a set of legal rights which can be demanded and enforced, but because there is a dimension of their life I shall never fully see; the dimension where they come forth from the purpose of God into the world, with a unique set of capacities and possibilities. The Christian disciple will have the same commitment to human rights and human dignity; but they will have it because of this underlying reverence, not because of some legal entitlement.”
He goes on to write: “It means that there are no superfluous people, no ‘spare’ people in the human world. Everyone is needed for the good of all. Human failure is tragic and terrible because it means that some unique and unrepeatable aspect of God’s purpose has been allowed to vanish. As the great Russian novelist Boris Pasternak makes one of his characters say in Doctor Zhivago, we can easily forget how the empires of the ancient world simply assumed that vast numbers of human beings could be sacrificed and slaughtered without a second thought; but the Christian gospel declares that there is nothing more Godlike and precious than a single human person.”
As we continue our journey through Lent with Jesus to Galgotha, may we pray that our modern empires do not forget how precious every “single human person” is in the eyes of God in Christ.
– Doug Fairbanks
Published on Thursday, March 16, 2017 @ 8:28 AM EDT