I have come to appreciate how much Christians can learn about and better live out our own faith tradition by encountering religious others. I’ve learned from Jewish and Muslim friends about how following God’s will can guide one’s daily life, and from Buddhist friends and colleagues about the value of striving for mindfulness in all of life. At the same time, I have more steadfastly embraced the Lutheran Christian conviction that I need the free gift of God’s reconciling action in Jesus Christ to bring me into right relationship with God. Then I can seek to live in response to God’s will.
Learning to know and listen to religious others has strengthened my Christian faith and practice and increased my respect for the faithfulness of others. It is my hope that you can have similar experiences – not only for your personal spiritual growth, but so we can all move beyond our comfort zones and follow the biblical call to “welcome the stranger.” We can join with religious others as good citizens and as people of faith serving God’s will for harmony in all of creation.
This message is excerpted from “Beyond comfort zones, welcome the stranger” by Carol Schersten LaHurd in the April 2016 Gather magazine.
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