Christ in Each Person
Karen Anne Smith of Ludington, MI, USA
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 3:28
Why should we be so polarized? What are we afraid of?
When I was a little girl growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, our communities were largely segregated, which didn’t allow for a lot of diversity. I cherished an elderly African American couple who had a turkey farm down the road from me. They were kind, gentle people. I remember when they took me on a tour of their farm and explained all about turkeys. I was fascinated!
As I matured, our generation challenged the perspective of the times. I grew to appreciate people of all backgrounds, and I grew in awareness of our responsibility to our planet. With God all creation is sacred. We need to remember this and behave accordingly.
When I was a young child, I often heard derogatory jokes about people who didn’t fit the norm. As I grew, God’s grace opened my eyes to the differently abled who share their own ministries. I also became increasingly aware of stories from our LGBTQ community, of how they’ve suffered persecution, even from their own families. It is heartbreaking and shameful! God again opened my eyes to the Christ in each person and the beauty of his work in all who will respond to him.
Even more recently I have become friends with people outside of Christianity: Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and more. My newest friends are seeking God’s grace and working for peace just like I am. Engaging in conversation about our beliefs, our efforts, our hopes, and dreams opens us up to new possibilities and unity through God. My faith has not weakened because of this exposure, but grows stronger as I see more and more of God’s Spirit working throughout creation.
Listen to each other’s stories. Hold each other’s babies. Love as Jesus loved. Together we can achieve peace, but it begins with each one of us. Shalom.
“Your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, adapted).
Ordinary Time is a season for noticing the details of life that make up its substance. This month, we invite you to pay attention with each fresh morning to the gift of being alive. Before getting out of bed, take a few deep breaths and notice what it feels like to wake up in your own body. Engage the tasks of your unfolding day with reverence-brushing your teeth, making the bed, pouring the coffee, tending the kids, feeding the animals, making breakfast, etc. Notice the presence of the Holy in every ordinary thing. Embrace your daily routines with sacramental significance. Notice how long you can do this before your attention is taken away, and commit to returning to this simple awareness as gently and often as you can.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.