“Look, here is the Lamb of God.” This phrase is a refrain that we will hear in our gospel reading coming up this weekend. We get to hear yet again from John the Baptist as his witness continues and his mantle now picked up by Jesus. Last week we heard the story of Jesus’ baptism, of our own baptisms and this week we begin to see just what that calling might look like. Not only is the Lamb of God pointed out in this story, but the first of the disciples are invited to come and see.
Not just see, or poke around from the fringes, but to come up close, engage with and interact with the other, because within them too is the presence of God. And absent such an interaction, we may not have the chance to see that for ourselves. It’s a desire for such sight that has at least in part inspired part of our confirmation curriculum this year to include study on both, other major world religions as well as the other denominations within Christianity itself.
Granted with knowing that time is limited, we were unable, of course, to study fully or come to complete understanding of every world religion. I don’t know of anyone who has! But just by virtue of the community in which we find ourselves we have been extremely lucky to have been able to come and see alongside our neighbors of faith.
In November as we were studying Hinduism, we visited the BAPS Shri Swamingarayan Hindu Mandir in nearby Bartlett and experience one of their prayer services. And just next week we’ll be attending the Congregation Etz Chaim Synagogue for a Friday evening Shabbat service. It’s been exciting to be welcomed as a guest; to be able to come and see our neighbors in this literal way. It’s been exciting getting to know our neighbors, because as we begin to know one another, relationships are built, trust is built, and community is strengthened.
I also want to call upon your collective wisdom too! We’re rounding out our world religions study with a look into Christianity itself. We’re going to have a panel discussion for our confirmation students with area pastors from different denominations. In this same spirit of engagement, in this calling to come and see, I am curious to know what are the questions you may have of Christianity? Do you have any questions about other denominations? Or perhaps, might you even be curious about what a denomination even is?! If you do, I want to invite you please to send in whatever question/s you may have to me. For as we hear this Sunday, this call to come and see, it isn’t limited to just our students, it is a call to us all. I thank you all and wish you a blessed start to your weekend!
God’s Peace & Blessings,
Pastor Dave Elliott