I am not a haute couture kind of girl. My basic outfit on these chilly days are black leggings and a long sweater, and only occasionally do I change my earrings. But on Monday in a NYC coffee shop, I met a stranger bedecked in designer clothing who became my brother in Christ.
We could not be more different, from our religious upbringing to our socio-economic status. The rings on his fingers were probably worth more than my car. His travel stories rivaled National Geographic’s. His friends are the kind of people we read about in business and entertainment magazines. But we found ourselves sitting side by side at a coffee bar on a random Monday morning.
This is what we are called to do in life: connect with people who are not like us. If we live in rural towns with little diversity or in neighborhoods where everybody looks alike, there are fewer obvious opportunities to connect with The Other – or so it seems. Actually, we may look similar, but we don’t have to scratch very deeply to discover an uncomfortable opinion or a life experience unlike our own.
God coming to live among us is the ultimate example of connecting with The Other. For an array of reasons – from laziness to busyness – we do not take the time or make the effort to connect with those whom we do not understand or already “know.” We prefer to hang out with our own tribe. It’s understandable. It’s easier.
But uniting in spirit with people who are Not Like Us is one way God grounds us.
I was not looking for this experience last Monday. And yet it happened by grace in a coffee shop that brews a mean cappuccino. I was more likely to pay attention because I was relaxed and enjoying a day off in a faraway place, but what if we practiced the spiritual discipline of looking for these holy connections in our own neighborhoods? These are the things that don’t happen when we spend our days sitting at our church desks holding office hours.
Image is a design by Jay Kos.