In my blog about the movie Avatar, I mention that God is not like an impersonal, balancing force in the universe that does not take sides. God is personal. God takes sides. This idea needs a little more unpacking.
When I say that God takes sides, I do not mean that, for example, God is on my side of an argument and not on my opponent’s side. Neither is God on the side of “good.” (Which, incidentally, I am always on. Right? Who chooses to be on the side of “bad”?) You might say that God is on our side, but not in our way. God is on our side in God’s way.
In the Bible, God is on the side of the poor, oppressed and needy: the orphan, the widow, the alien. But this does not mean that God is on the side of the poor and oppressed in order to make them rich and powerful (so they can have their turn, as children might put it). God is on the side of the poor and oppressed and needy because God Himself became poor and oppressed and needy. God came to be with the poor and show the way to Life in the midst of poverty, to show the way to resurrection through suffering death. “How difficult it is,” Jesus said, “for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” It is hard for most Canadians to believe this. It is not nearly as hard for most Haitians to believe.
And yet we are all poor. The wealthiest may be the poorest. God is on our side to help us see our poverty, to see our need for Him, to see our need for salvation, to hear His call for repentance. God is on our side to reveal our poverty to us. To rub it in our faces (if necessary), so that we can find Life, God’s Life that only comes to the poor and needy. God is on our side to gently lead us to embrace death, death in little doses, death to my selfish desires and ambitions and rights. He teaches us to embrace death so that we might participate in the Resurrection–not only on the Last Day, but today. Every little death is a little taste of the Last Day, the Final Judgement, the Account before the Throne of God. Every little death is a gateway to a little resurrection.
God is on our side to make us Christians: Little Christs.