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12 June 2024

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”

Matthew 5:43–45

[From “Celebrating Diversity” by Adam Wade, Australia Herald, August 2020, p. 10]

In recent years I have found the more I travel, where the diversity of the groups with which I share and encounter broadens, the more I see similarities between people rather than differences. Yet do not misread this as a simplification saying basically everyone is the same. Cultures and sub-cultures across the globe are diverse and varied: from the foods they eat, to the way they express their feelings, what they do for fun, what an average day looks like, and the list goes on. This is even true within our own culture; people are certainly diverse!

However, when you spend time with others and look below the layers of unfamiliarity, it does not take long to find connections. People express love and want to be loved, whether displayed by a low bow or arms wrapped around another in a hug. Special moments are had across a table eating together over good food, where one is spiced cabbage and the other fermented fish. Swapping stories that have been key defining moments in their lives; walking up mountain paths or moving across the sea. A desire and compassion to serve and help others. People grieve, cry with one another, laugh together, and have hopes and dreams for the future.

When we first encounter someone new, it is easy to see the differences. Instead, what a gift it would be to approach someone new with the thought “we have more similarities than I think, and I will try to discover those and see this person as God sees them.”

I believe one of our greatest blessings as a globally diverse Christian community is that we are striving to find those similarities as disciples and working together for the mission of Christ to be one people in many places, with a strong and powerful faith in the God who loves each and every one of us.

Prayer Phrase

“We, who are many, are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5).

Spiritual Practice

Spiritual Learning

Meditate on a time when you learned about community from someone who took you in, fed you, taught you, shared stories and wisdom with you. What did you learn? Prayerfully create a list of qualities you need to learn from spiritual mentors and friends. Then write the names of people who serve as teachers, models, coaches, or encouragers in your life as a disciple. Offer a prayer of gratitude and blessing for these spiritual “relatives” and friends.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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