Friday, March 2, 2012


Crossing Boundaries

Scripture:  This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”  Genesis 9:17a

I love living in New York City.  I love its rich diversity and the variety of people, places, and experiences so readily available. Geographically, we are divided into many parts: east side, west side, upper east, lower east, upper west, midtown, downtown, below 14th Street, Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island - you get the picture. 

Sometimes, I get lazy and want to stay on “my” side of town but the truth is, I am always blessed when I venture out to learn, embrace, and experience a different way of life.   Barbara Brown Taylor writes in her book, An Altar in the World, "Sometimes the hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self - to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.”  

What I am most clear about - clearer than anything else I know - is God’s unwavering determination to embrace all of humanity, and to do so without any conditions at all – this is his covenant promise.

I live in a city that calls us to embrace not only our differences but also our common bonds.  You do too.   

Why not go out of your way to discover a new part of town? Walk around. Eat the food. Smile and see who smiles back. Take a peek into a synagogue or mosque and ask the questions you’ve always wondered about.  Begin a conversation with someone from another country or state.  And listen, really listen.  My guess is you will discover that your own faith will be greatly enhanced beyond your wildest imaginings. 

Prayer:  Loving God, thank you for binding us together as one people.

 The Reverend Dr. Cathy Gilliard

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