Driving out of our neighborhood this afternoon, waiting for traffic to clear – I see a gaggle of LDS elders across the street. Looks like they just finished a meeting. They stand in clusters. White shirts and ties and smiles and I wonder…
Just how much is that church, that community just like every other one scattered around town?
In spite of all the differences we would site…
Same dreams and loves and fears and anxieties.
How different these from clusters standing about in my own church parking lot?
How different from people filling the restaurant where we ate lunch, the people filling the cars lined up at the light?
I’m struck by how very much we have in common – including our seemingly unstoppable tendency to distance ourselves from one another, to build and reinforce our walls, our distinctives, our imagined superiorities. How readily we feed our rivalries and our pride; how greedily we defend our personal and institutional and party boundaries.
And how easily Christ moves across them all – moves through them as if not even seeing them, as if they didn’t even exist. Walls of race, gender, morality, politics, religion. Effortlessly he glides through them all. Not on this mountain or that, but at an outcast’s well, responding to an outcast’s cry. “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in Spirit and in Truth.” Try bounding that wind within your walls. Uncontained and uncontainable. The property of none and yet possessed by all – as much as any can possess the wind.
I’m struck by how foreign so much of Christianity is to Christ. It would seem we all spend far too much time auditing Christ rather than following; far too much effort in finding ways to distance and despise and demean one another as we build and support and advance our little kingdoms and call it all “love” – these ones for whom Christ died, whom He loves and for whom he lives and prays and intercedes.
And so I watch these youthful elders standing in their clusters.
And I feel the breeze.