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Are you my friend? (Rally to Restore Unity)

05/04/2011

The truth of the matter is, even if you spell many, many words wrong, we can still be friends. In fact, if you believe that Catholics are wrong, liberals are evil, women should be silent, and this woman in particular should be burned at the stake, we can definitely still be friends. What? Yes. In fact, come over for dinner tonight? Let’s break bread together.

That’s the beautiful mystery of God’s grace, isn’t it? That it’s big enough to draw enemies together– to love until there is no more pain, but only love (to paraphrase Mother Teresa, however poorly).

Just a few months ago, I was celebrating a friend’s birthday. We sat, eight of us around a long table, prepared beautifully, feast-ful of wine, of food, of the promise for laughter and sweet memories. But something strange happened to the eight of us, perfect-friends though we were. The evening began in silence, a somber reverence for what was before us. Suddenly we were strangers, hushed, listening for what was to come. The quiet crescendo of celebration.

Soon enough words flowed as easily as wine.

And in that moment where lights caught the flickering smiles, the chimes of forks against plates, the tinkles of glasses touching for a toast, I saw it.

Oh how big and grand and lovely that feast table to come will be. Bigger than we’ve ever imagined it could be. The liberals, the conservatives, the Catholics, the Calvinists all of us together. Perfect strangers being made into perfect friends. How lovely it would be if we could live into the quiet crescendo of celebration, to see the kingdom of God at our imperfect banquets. If you and I could break bread together tonight, if tomorrow we could invite one more stranger-friend to the party.

How else do you honor the blood poured out, the body broken? The feast– seasoned with sorrows, with tears, with anxieties and fears, but most of all with love.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth permalink
    05/04/2011 2:02 pm

    Lovely words! Praise God that He is big enough for all our differences…

  2. 05/05/2011 7:06 am

    thanks, ryan, yep, the table is big & so good when we’re all eating together….

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