I’m only into the introduction of Invitation to Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Anthology edited by John R. Tyson and I’m astounded at how narrow my view of Christian spirituality is. I’ve experienced this over and over in the past several years – the realization that I barely comprehend the story of God in my life, much less the world.
This past Sunday, which in much of the Church is celebrated as Pentecost, I enjoyed a fellow Christ follower reading a portion of Romans in Tagalog, a language of the Philippines. She read with such joy and radiance as she shared her gift with the rest of the congregation.
I thought I knew so much…..but I know so little.
It’s easy for us to think that because we grew up in the Bible Belt that we know more than others. Maybe we grew up in church. Or your dad is a pastor. Maybe like me, you asked Jesus into your heart when you were a kid. Some of us have served in a church our entire adult lives, memorized Bible verses, observed the liturgical church calendar faithfully, led small groups, served the poor – given our time, talent, and treasure.
Still, Jesus asks us to follow him. The implication is a continual choice to follow. Listen. Learn from him. To respond to the Spirit as he invites us to into deeper trust and transformation. Every day Jesus asks us to follow him. Every day.
They Brought It To Us
We like to think that we are the ones who take the Gospel to the world. And we do as we live out the way of Christ. But I must remember that the faith I experience today is a result of those early faithful followers of Jesus taking the Gospel to all the nations. We are one of those nations. We can share the Gospel because it was first shared with us centuries ago.
Christianity did not begin with us. It was brought to us.
May we be open to all God has for us – all that He wants to show us through our brothers and sisters in our communities and around the world – from different cultures, backgrounds, denominations, and life experiences.
That’s what Jesus means for us. “So they’ll be as unified and together as we are- I in them and you in me.”
I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.