Today we gathered around, opened the ancient holy writ, and leaned in close. There’s no way to plan for these moments because there is no telling what will populate as we begin sharing our insights and experiences. Today was no different. As we began a bible study homework discussion, we somehow managed to find ourselves in a discussion of the current tension between politics and faith, between security and open borders, between speaking up or sitting quietly, and between our own comfort zones and discomfort.
You might be gritting your teeth, holding your breath, or skeptical about how things turned out. I am here to wave a banner for the women of faith that show up in my living room each week. They are the church. They are the ones that earnestly seek the face of the Savior. And they demonstrated love and grace to each other like it was their job. I do not believe that anyone left feeling diminished, disqualified, or degraded. We did not argue or attempt to persuade. We talked.
We started this conversation at the beginning of our two hours together and then we moved on. We dove into scripture to experience the compassion and power of Jesus. We didn’t return to our earlier conversation, and yet we began to see connections between our current desire and Jesus’ behavior toward strangers, those battling chronic illnesses, and those that were outsiders.
And we witnessed the repeated behavior of the religious leaders. The individuals (and to be clear, I regularly identify with these dudes) that loved law more than the person that came to fulfill the law. We read today about their Sabbath law love that caused them to miss a miracle. A man suffering for 38 stinking years got up and walked at the command of Christ and they missed it.
I don’t want to miss the miracles of Jesus. I don’t want to be so in love with what I understand as right and good that I miss the person standing in front of me. The one that checks me out at the coffee shop, the one that delivers my mail, teaches my children, or lives next door.
Christ went to the needy and the hurting. He used few words, but they were always intentional. We can do this. We can have civil conversations. We can honor each other despite our differing beliefs. We can ask each other to elaborate on ideas without destroying one another. We can. I know because I experienced it today.
Lord Jesus, let us be known as people that see beyond rules and circumstances. Give us the desire to be whole again. To be people that see others as valuable and not just minds to persuade to think and be like us. Forgive us Lord for regularly infusing ourselves into the middle of everything. Give us wisdom to choose words carefully and a willingness to refrain from using words carelessly. Help us live out the gospel message today. Amen