Those other guys …

In todays Gospel  ( Luke 9:48 +)  We find this part of the passage :

Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Consider this portion of the Gospel in relation to other Denominations, other faiths, other religions.   Consider that in every faith in the world there are divisions, sects, denominations, variations, or what ever you want to call them..  They do not believe all the things that we/you/they do.

There are “men of good will”  or people who will strive to find goodness in the world and in their own personal belief spaces.   The question becomes how is it that we relate to “them”.   How is it that we see them and the things that “they” believe.

The major thing that people seem to miss in their evaluations is that these are institutions that contain PEOPLE !

We are the church.  WE being the people.  The church is full of men, women, and children.  As a result we are all subject to the human failings that plague us.   I am not just talking about the people in the pew.  I am talking about the Ministers, the Preachers, the Priests, Rabbis, clergy in general.   It seems that we tend to be less forgiving of people who are in a position of shepherd in our spiritual lives.   For those who are parents, you may consider some point in your parental walk where you made a mistake, or dropped the ball.  It happens because there is no manual for kids.    The same thing applies for clergy.  There are no step by step instructions for dealing with each type of person, there is no injection to give them the tools to give them super human patience, or some particular skill.  These are people with a certain skill set and a love of God.   We make mistakes, they make mistakes, We are all human with all of the frailties and sufferings and love that comes with being human.

In our dealings with others let us look to those things that unite us.  Even if it is nothing more that the fact that that other person, bears the imprint, and is the dwelling of the Most High.

I am told that in the Marriage Encounter process some people have gone through the excercise of standing before their spouse and saying ” I stand in awe of your presence”!    Initially this may sound like a very silly thing to say, or  it may sound like your putting the other person on a pedistal.  However, in digging beneath the surface of this statement  it is much more that something of praise.  Each person on the earth bears the imprint of the Most High made by his hands infused with the Holy Spirit.  Each life is miraculous.  The more you study about the human body the more miraculous it is.  You can see hints of the same imprint.

In our appreciation of other people in a spiritual light, we should also find the similarities in our beliefs, and share that part of our community with them.   Because one group says “thy” and another says “Your”  is that less valid a prayer ?  If two people pray to God for some situation, does God only hear the one who sits or the one who stands ?

I have a good friend who is Muslim.  He has a kind heart, a love of God, and a desire to be of service to others.  I would dare say that he as a Muslim is a better Christian than some others I know.  I have watched him take in strangers, share their concerns, and perform corporal works of mercy, even if he did not call them that.  I find that my own spiritual life is richer having him as a friend.

I would encourage you to reach out to your neighbors, or to strangers and share the love of God with them.  All of them !  Christians, Muslims, Jews, who ever it is.  I promise you will be a better person for the experience.

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