Our lives can easily be cocooned. We can wall ourselves off from people we don’t want to see, people we don’t agree with, and people who make us nervous or angry. I reflect how Jesus modeled a different way of living, with an openness to all who came to him, whether it was people who would become disciples, or people who needed healing or a spiritual conversation. Jesus did not run from those who opposed him, who saw God and faith differently. Jesus did not run from those who had a large need in their lives, emotionally or spiritually. I think Jesus knew these encounters could be times where the Holy Spirit would show up and begin to work to bring help, understanding, strength, sometimes through surprising encounters.
This Sunday, Dr. Buzz Stevens will be preaching and he will talk about moments when we have such encounters in our lives. They can be holy moments for us. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri write, “Love has become a strictly private affair. We need a more generous and more unrestrained conception of love.” That seems an appropriate challenge for the Christian church. God can show up in all kinds of places that we don’t expect. Even with strangers! Worship with us Sunday as we open our hearts to meet God and the people God sends into our lives, knowing that such people may cause for our faith to grow.
Rev. Dr. Dave Summers
Senior Pastor, Paradise Valley United Methodist Church