The chilly temperatures and gray, drizzly days are a sharp reminder that seasons are changing. Time is passing. The world is turning. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I didn’t give a lot of thought to the passage of time. That must have been because it was easier to lie about my age!
Yes, I said “lie.”
Yes, I work in a church.
Oh yeah, I lie (not often). I might even slip in a swear word now and then. I sure as heck struggle with making good choices on a consistent basis.
Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to a brunch where about a dozen people were there with the intention of talking about Religion. Faith. Church. God.
Some of the folks around the table were disconnected from organized religion, and I think some had been really damaged by past experiences with church. I might have been a bit of a curiosity for them: maybe I didn’t talk or act like what they expected a “Christian” to be. I hope they saw that I know I am a flawed human being, but that I am trying to love people the way I think Jesus wants us to do. Frequently I find myself thinking (and occasionally, saying out loud), "I’m not that kind of Christian." I get it: people hear things in the news and assume all of us who call ourselves Christian think, believe and behave alike.
Well, that just isn’t true.
I’m beyond trying to tell you why someone else is doing something in the name of Jesus. That’s for them to figure out. I will say that I think Jesus wants me to listen to people, to try to understand the things they say that confuse me, and to live into the love he has for them . My understanding of his expectation is that we don’t have “excepts”….. We are to love everyone, no exception. We welcome everyone, no exception. We see each other as equals, no exceptions. Each of us is deserving of God’s love, no exceptions. Everyone gets a seat at the table, no exceptions. It gets tricky, what with politics and prejudice and misunderstandings and old hurts, and fear.
So maybe, start small. Want to try an experiment with me?
Smile at everyone, no exceptions. See how that goes for you. Look people in the eye. It’s hard to ignore our shared humanity when we look into each other’s eyes. Let me know how it goes. I’m doing the same thing.