It’s natural that we strive to interpret the Bible within the context of our own lives. Paul wrote his letter to a multi-cultural group of early Roman Christians squabbling over differing religious practices nearly two thousand years ago. What is its relevance to a Lutheran living in downtown Toronto in the twenty-first century?
A couple of months ago, my Lutheran church, two Anglican churches and a mosque welcomed a Syrian family of six to Toronto. In October 2015, when our interfaith group first began to meet and plan for sponsoring a refugee group, we tended to sit next to members of our own faith groups. The reality of working together for a common cause put an end to that seating arrangement pretty quickly.
Thanks to the mosque’s imam, Anglicans and Lutherans are now more aware of halal food requirements. Meetings have been held in the mosque and churches. The different faith groups take turns leading prayers. Events have been carefully scheduled to ensure that religious services and prayer times can be observed.
At no point have dietary restrictions or clothing conventions hindered us from welcoming the stranger or feeding and clothing the homeless. I wonder what Paul would have thought of this.
CKA — CKA