The work of One in the Spirit — bringing people together to engage across differences as we continue to live out our baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being — is grounded in our tradition and our scripture. It is also borne out in our experience that getting to know “who” the person is can help get us beyond the “what” that might challenge or divide us.
And so today we lift up these words from Diana Butler Bass from her newest book — Freeing Jesus — reflecting on Paul’s encounter with Jesus in the ninth chapter of Acts:
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
Paul asked “Who are you?” not “What are you doing? Or “Why are you talking to me?”
“Who” is a relational question, a question that opens us toward companionship, friendship, and perhaps even love. It is the question we try to answer whenever we meet someone new; if we find out “who” is sitting across from us, we might know how to proceed with whatever comes next. To know “who” is an invitation into a relationship that can – if we let it – change us, often sending our lives onto a completely unexpected path.
If we think that being with Jesus means getting the right answers from a creed or remembering points of doctrine from a sermon, we probably ill not manage to truly know Jesus. We will only succeed in keeping the right responses scribbled on some back page of our memory.
“Who are you, Lord?” is the question of a lifetime, to be asked and experienced over and over again. That query frees Jesus to show up in our lives over and over again, and entails remembering where we first met, how we struggled with each other along the road, and what we learned in the process.Diana Butler Bass, Freeing Jesus
[Image: Ana Muricio via Unsplash]