As some of you may know (those of you that are Dutch, anyway), tomorrow is the feast day of St Martin of Tours (St. Maarten in the lowlands). We were talking about St Martin yesterday at the Canterbury at Cal meeting and it gave me a new perspective on the story (the story being that St Martin, a soldier at the time, met a beggar at the gates of some city, and seeing that the beggar was cold, drew his sword and cut his cloak in half. He kept one half and gave the other half away). I always wondered why St Martin didn’t give away his whole cloak – it seemed kind of miserly to give away half. The chaplain however explained it by saying that by giving away only half his cloak, St Martin was aligning himself to the beggar, setting himself up for ridicule by connecting himself so visibly with someone who in the eyes of the day was worthless.
I liked that reading. It makes the world a less bleak place when people in power act in such a way to join those on the fringe. It gives me hope that one day, we might not think in binaries like “us” and “them” and no one will be excluded.