18 JUNE 2018
This past week my wife and I completed the purchase of a new home in one of the most "diverse" areas of the United States, Sugarland Texas. As we began to meet neighbors and sense the area, I was overwhelmed by how different but similar we, the community, are. For example, my neighbors to the right are from Pakistan and have at least two generations living in the home. Eight cars attested to their communal celebration ending the season of Ramadan. The family to the right just moved from New York City. They are a "different breed". I look forward to getting to know them.. Then, across the street is a Chinese couple. The wife does not yet speak English. And directly across the street is a retired employee of the oil company, Exxon. This mix is evident across the community, in grocery stores, at the gas pump, in the churches.
Seven minutes from the house is St. Theresas Catholic Church where some 500 congregants gathered on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Mass. Early on Sunday morning and eight minutes in another direction is a large Church of Christ where another several hundred Christians met to sing acapella, hear an inspiring Father's Day sermon and share the "Lords Supper". A little closer to Houston another group met at the Unity Church of Christianity to proclaim, "Let there be peace and let it begin with me." And of course there were the various weekly services in mosques, temples, and synagogues. All good people , all trying to live good lives and raise good families as best they know how; all united at their core by the knowledge that "God is love." And, yes, all celebrating "Father's Day". I will have to think more on this blend of differentness within so many common intentions.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." One writer pointed out the incarnational message of this statement. Jesus is the way, i.e. follow his example in living. He is also the life, i.e. in him lies eternal life, the life we really want, the life that is one with the Father. And he is both at the same time. That, at least, is the Christian message and perspective. It seems that as a Christian it will be my task to share that message with the community while at the same time recognizing the goodness (and not a little sin) that already exists across the various traditions that are present. Oh, and I suppose that is the underpinning goal of what we call The Chaplains Corner.
Blessings and peace,