What comes to mind when you hear the word inclusion? Do you instinctively know what it means to you? Is it a worn-out word for you? Do you think it holds a political idea? Inclusion has been a hot topic for a number of years and a number of reasons, but what is its real meaning? Some people think of welcome when they think of inclusion, but it is more than welcome - people can be welcomed and still left out of a group afterwards. Real inclusion goes further. Its what Jesus did; his inclusion was radical, it always led to embrace.
Jesus embraced Judas knowing exactly what Judas’ kiss meant, and where it would lead, both for Judas and for himself.
Jesus embraced the whole of humanity, knowing that it was our violence, selfishness and hatred that took him to the Cross - as the liturgy reminds us, “he opened his arms of love upon the cross and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.”* Jesus included and embraced us from the cross and it cost him everything.
Real inclusion can cost us; it takes bravery and sacrifice. We run the risk of being rejected and discriminated against in the same way as those we are including.
Yet since Jesus has done that for us, might we be able to try and live the radical inclusion that leads to embrace – regardless of race, economic power, age, sexuality, gender, disability, nationality, relationship status and (here’s the really difficult one…) political belief?
As the saying goes, talk is cheap. Lets act.
*Anglican Eucharistic Liturgy