Today while I was out running errands I encountered a moment that felt unusual. The more I’ve pondered an interaction I had at a local store, the more I wonder why this felt so unusual. I just popped into a store to pick up a bag of popcorn and the cashier started up a conversation about popcorn and a recent day trip she made to NYC where she got delicious popcorn. The skill of starting a conversation with a stranger isn’t one I’m always comfortable with. It’s hard to find a connection and to risk doing the unexpected.
Isn’t that faith? Doing the unexpected. Sharing kindness and welcome to strangers? Looking for connections even if it’s simply over a bag of popcorn? Reaching out and saying “Hi” to folks we pass.
This Sunday we will be remembering the 500th anniversary of the reformation. It was 500 years ago that Martin Luther and others asked some tough questions relating to church practices and policies. It began a process that lead to great diversity within the Christian Church with separate denominations articulating how they understood faith differently from one another. Today I wonder: if we split over every difference of understanding wouldn’t we have as many faith traditions as we have people? I’ve also been wondering, what tough questions might we pose for religious structures today?
I believe to live authentic lives of faith we are called as individuals to listen and respond to God through word and experience, while also living out our faith within a community of believers for mutual support and spiritual practice. This means we have an individual faith as well as a corporate expression of faith that unites us as one body. Ultimately the reformation separated the human construct of church, but each day I pray we will all understand there is just one creation and one Holy One that loves us all!
We are reformed and we are still in need of reformation. May we be one. Not in human structure, but in our hearts. We are one!
Grace my friends,