Coexist

Tim Eaton

Tim Eaton

By Pastor Tim Eaton

You have seen the bumper sticker. You likely know someone who believes something different about God than you do. In fact, you probably know lots of different people with lots of different ideas about God, the origin and purpose of life, and how we should live.

The existence of many different answers to life’s biggest questions seems to beg a few more: Who is right (if any)? How do we live together in peace? And, How can we relate to and interact with each other?

History holds for us tragic examples of how not to coexist with people of other faiths. Rather than accept the challenge of deep dialogue and seeking understanding, many have simply tried to eliminate people of other faiths from their vicinity. They shortly answered the question of living in peace with one another with a resounding, “No.”

Jesus, in John, Chapter 4, takes a different tact. He walks right into a place he doesn’t “belong” – Samaria. He seeks a deep conversation and understanding with a woman He meets there. He holds out promise for resolution saying, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth…” He is not afraid of discussion – instead He trusts that discussion will lead to resolution.

But how do we live together until that resolution? Jesus has words that challenge us to love what we don’t yet understand. He holds out a standard of love:  “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).” By example He shows us that we won’t understand people, and we won’t resolve conflicts with them if we are not willing to begin with love and then seek understanding. That’s exactly what He did when He came to earth; He came to love and help us understand His care for us.

Join us Sundays, as we seek to understand Jesus and others better in a new series, “Coexist,” beginning Sept. 20.  And don’t miss our special guest on Oct. 4 – Dr. Adam Francisco, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Concordia University Irvine (whose Doctorate is in Muslim-Christian Relations) – as he teaches on Christian and Islamic relations.

Edgewater Lutheran Church meets Sundays at 10 a.m., worshiping at Harada Elementary, 12884 Oakdale Street, Eastvale, CA, 92880;http://www.EdgewaterLutheran.org.