by Steve Childress, M.Div. Student, School of Theology and Ministry, Seattle University
Knowing the Gift of God
I realized quickly when I moved to Seattle from Memphis, Tennessee, that the world was a much bigger place than I had imagined. Coming out of a Christian tradition and culture that has Pentecostal roots, not only did the curricula and content of courses at Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry broaden my perspectives and insights, my classmates who come from various Christian backgrounds and other faith traditions have expanded my ideas and thought-life as well. I occasionally remark to them that before coming to Seattle, I had been living in a “Christian bubble.”
In one class, Pastoral Care Skills, I had concluded that I should just be quiet and learn as much as I could, but the professors recognized the spiritual aspect of my ministerial experiences and encouraged me to make more contributions to the discussions in class. Not only did I see value in the professors’ lectures as well as my classmates’ insights, they saw value in mine.
This is where my imagination gleans insight when I consider the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John as I reflect on Christian unity. Christians find themselves in a variety of places in the world. We are among the privileged as well as the oppressed. We see the world from the center as well as from the margins. Our various Christian traditions and cultures give us a diverse multitude of world views, and there is great value to be gained in our dialogue with one another as opposed to being segregated into “Christian bubbles” with like-minded believers. This is demonstrated for me in the conversation at the well in Samaria outside of the city called Sychar. Regardless and because of Jesus’ posture as a Jewish Rabbi and prophet, or the sociological insight and perspective of the Samaritan woman who lived on the margins, the two world views benefited each of them through their dialogue with one another. Surely the Samaritan woman benefited from the conversation that she had with Jesus, so much so that she invited others to come and see him (John 4:29). Surely Jesus benefited from the conversation with the Samaritan woman, noting to his disciples that he had “meat that they knew not of (John 4:32).” The everlasting thirst quenching of the Holy Spirit’s living water and the sustenance that comes from the meat of doing God’s will speaks to the sustainability of our identity, the purposes of God and the value of our relationships with one another. Like precious gold and choice silver, there is value to be gained in our dialogues as well as the community that we have them in.
We pray for spiritual discernment, realizing our value in one another, the value in our dialogues as well as our relationships.
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Theme for the Day: ANNUNCIATION
Genesis 46:1-7 God tells Jacob not to be afraid of going down to Egypt
Psalm 133 How good it is when kindred live together in unity
Acts 2:1-11 The day of Pentecost
John 4:7-15 “You have no bucket and the well is deep”
- Do you remember situations in which your church has helped another church or has been helped by another church?
- Are there reservations from the part of your church to accept help from another church? How can these reservations be overcome?
School Cycle of Prayer:
We pray today for the Christian Scriptures class taught by Leticia Guardiola-Sáenz; Tito Cruz, Associate Dean; Thuong ChuChe, staff; Corey Passons, graduate assistant; Dorinda Henry and Todd Holdridge, students.
God, spring of the Living water,
help us to understand that the more we join together the pieces of our ropes,
the more deeply our buckets reach into your divine waters!
Awaken us to the truth that the gifts of the other,
are an expression of your unfathomable mystery.
And make us sit at the well together
to drink from your water
which gathers us in unity and peace.
We ask this in the name of your son Jesus Christ,
who asked the Samaritan woman to give him water for his thirst.