Listen Up!

July 11, 2016

 

John 4: 6a - 10 Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

7-8 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, "Would you give me a drink of water?" (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

9 The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, "How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" (Jews in those days wouldn't be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered, "If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water."

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

 

May the peace, grace and love of God fill your soul during these turbulent times.

 

Yesterday was a breath of fresh air.  After a week of unspeakable tragedies and the unveiling of our deepest divides, it was refreshing to take a step out of the walls which can divide us and walk in our community.

 

On the first community walk for Journey of Faith, five of us went out, while one stayed behind to welcome any late arrivals.  We went door to door, covering a few blocks simply assuring our neighbors we are here and we wish to hear about them and their lives. What are their concerns? Their desires?  Their frustrations? Their hopes and dream? 

 

Now it's not like the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit visibly descended brining us together in the middle of the street, holding hands, singing Kumbaya.  Truth be told many people, even though we could see or hear them in their home, did not answer the door. Others were not welcoming and exhibited a spirit of rudeness. In fact, one gentleman who was spending time watering his lawn and being sure it looked pristine had the ugliest attitude and spirit of the neighborhood.  Just because it's pretty on the outside doesn't mean it is on the inside. Hello?

 

But overall it was so affirming, so inspiring. Many people were deeply appreciative we were even out there, showing we cared.   We discovered the incredible diversity which sits around Journey of Faith as we spoke with people of all colors, nationalities, ethnic groups and many languages.  We are a church sitting in a sea of diversity! Praise God for this opportunity.

 

So, what do we do? What now?  We keep doing what we just did. We walk as Jesus walked and live as Jesus lived. In the scripture above Jesus took a moment to chill by a well and had a conversation with a Samaritan woman. Jews did not speak to Samaritans and rabbis did not have conversations with women.  But Jesus did!

 

That's how we grow together as a community of faith. We love by listening and we listen by loving each other. We listen to our collective experiences. We listen to the experience of people of color in our community. We listen to the experience of White people in our community. We listen to the experience of seniors in our community. We listen to the experience of youth in our community. We listen to the experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in our community. We listen to the experience of police officers in our community. We listen to the experience of convicted felons in our community. 

 

We honor our individual stories in a manner we may recognize the collective story God is writing through all of us. For God's love, justice and truth is greater than all of our personal stories, yet God ties them all together for one story of God's love.

 

Let God's story of love and grace be written through us.

 

Love, Pastor G

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