Last week I spent a day with a group of rabbi’s, imams, and evangelical pastors. And one rabbi who’d spent time visiting a church very similar to Seneca Creek, made the following pronouncement to the other rabbis and imams:
“What you think you know about evangelicals is wrong.”
He went on to share about the diversity, the gracious inclusion, the artistry and creativity, the energy and the excellence. In short, he shared how pleasantly surprised he was, and how his previous beliefs were fundamentally upended by actually visiting this evangelical church in our area.
I share this story because the experience of that rabbi is similar to the experience of many of your friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Their opinions and attitudes toward evangelical Christians have been shaped by many voices, but rarely by actually getting to know and see what a church like Seneca Creek is actually like. All too often they carry in their minds an ugly stereotype of people like you and like me. And that situation needs to change.
One simple way to start the change is by inviting someone to visit with you and experience what you have experienced many times on a Sunday morning. And one of the easiest times to invite someone is for Easter Sunday. I know that seems like a long way off, but in reality it’s only 58 days away (on April 1st). That’s right, Easter Sunday is in 58 days.
So why not take a minute today and begin to pray for an opportunity to extend an invitation to one person this Easter. Take one minute each day starting today, and see how long it takes before that opportunity shows up in your lap. Then extend the invitation, and watch how perceptions can change in the life of your friend.
We’ll provide some print and digital resources in the coming weeks, but for now, it can start with a simple prayer:
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy (St. Francis of Assisi)