Gone are the days when we not only picked our friends but also our enemies, the days when faith was not a uniting feature but that which could cause great division and, often times, heartache. I was a seventh grade student at South Scranton Junior High when I first came in contact with kids of other faith traditions. I have to admit – the experience was rather life-changing. Growing up in Minooka, a predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood, sheltered me from the outside would until junior high school.
I would probably have to admit my earliest friendships with non-Catholic kids were filled with suspicion, you know, engaging the “unknown”. Interesting thing: the harder I looked for differences in those kids, the more they resembled me in my 13-year-old, rather dull and uneventful life. Thus my ecumenical history began early on and flourished as the years went on.
Perhaps my ultimate ease with other traditions stems from my German Lutheran grandfather or my parents’ openness to the greater world. In any event, my openness early on has greatly assisted me in my ministry. Wouldn’t our ancestors be surprised at our very kind approach to ecumenism?
Our prayer service for Christian unity last Sunday was a true testament to trust and faith as we prayed with Bethel United Methodist Church, Mill City Assembly of God, Lake Winola United Methodist Church and St. Mary of the Lake parishioners. We have learned to set aside our differences or to find mutuality within, to journey together with our Christian brothers and sisters. Such a better world. Such a kinder world. We pray that more will join us, not because we harbor ill will, but because together we have decided to do “His will”
May God bless you abundantly.