Monday, September 29, 2008

The Coolest Thing About My Church

Yesterday at worship during the prayers of the people a man (who I'll call 'Joe' for the sake of a bit of privacy) prayed for a bit of peace and comfort. His wife, who serves on our session -- Presbyterian-speak for church board -- was with her father who was dying. In addition to that heavy burden, they had lost their 17-year-old dog earlier in the week. They'd also had a couple of family 'highs' -- birth of a grandchild -- in recent weeks so it had been an emotional roller coaster for the past month or so. He was in tears as he prayed aloud.
As powerful as such moments are, they are, to be sure, nothing particularly out of the ordinary in a small church. Except for this: Joe is Jewish.
We say, every Sunday, that Clarendon Presbyterian Church is a house of prayer for all of God's children. And we mean it. Without exception.
We are clear and unapologetic in proclaiming the good news of Jesus. We pray in Jesus' name. But we trust that God hears everybody's prayers. We know that we do not have hold of all there is of God in our Christian confession and are enriched by the faiths of others. We hear Jesus' words, that his father's house has lots of rooms.
And we trust that there is one for Joe -- not because he comes to church, but because he seeks God and anybody who knocks at the door of God's house is going to find a welcome. So in our little wing of the house, we don't have a litmus test of creed or confession for joining the fellowship, offering prayers, serving the least of these, and finding a little peace in the presence of a loving God.
Will Joe ever "find Jesus"? That question holds little interest for me. Frankly, I think it is the wrong question.
Joe is a sojourner, walking a path in fear and trembling -- as Paul put it -- toward the light of life and love that shines in the darkness. Some will only always interpret that light as Jesus.
On the other hand, if light can be both particle and wave, perhaps the metaphor can be expanded, as well. After all, long before Jesus, God told Moses: I will be who I damn well please.


yo sistah said...

hmmm--sounding mighty like a creedless Quaker there, my bro. There's enough Light to go around, I am sure. xx yosistah

Christian Wright said...

just being Pauline -- working out salvation day by day in fear and trembling -- as it were