Ultimate Joy

Barriers

Posted on: November 1, 2010

My friend’s father died on Monday.  She was understandably upset at her dad’s passing.  He was her daddy, a friend, a comforting beacon in a world of insecurity.

To offer comfort and support, I went to the funeral and burial.

Only one slight concern, my friend is Jewish.  Being a Christian, I’d never been to a Jewish funeral.  I was a bit nervous going thinking, “Would I fit in?  Would they let me in?  What if I unknowingly did something that was inappropriate or offensive?”

Emotional, moving, profound, the service was an ocean of memories – a loving marriage, nurturing family and a successful career.  The reading of the 23rd Psalm (The Lord is My Shepherd) magically made some of the differences between our religions melt away.  And, thankfully, I didn’t do anything out of step with the other mourners.

In Luke 13, the rich young ruler asks “What do I have to do to gain eternal life?”  Christ asks him what does the law say and he responds, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  But when the ruler asks, “Who is my neighbor, he hoped for an easy answer.  In typical fashion, Christ explains through the parable of the Good Samaritan that our neighbor is everyone.  As my pastor is fond of saying, “You have never locked eyes with someone who doesn’t matter to God,”

When I made my decision to attend the funeral, I only saw a woman, my friend, who was hurting and mattered to God.  In this instance, I was called to be the hands and feet of Christ and did it by crossing a religious barrier; one that seemed minimized by our mutual sadness.

Please don’t let a day go by without taking the time, creativity, energy and risk to speak love to another human being.  Tell them exactly how valued they are regardless of what barriers – social, racial, religious, economic – you need to cross to do that.  Let that be our mission:  to be kind to one another and to smile with each other through the tears. 

I love the idea of living in a world where we see all people as immeasurably loved by God.  I’d sign up for a world like that everyday!

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