Glorious Diversity

I had the delightful privilege this week of sharing an hour with a group of CCTC students studying mission in the New Testament. (As a presenter, rather than as a fellow sufferer... well, a fellow sufferer in Greek classes at least... I do enjoy other subjects. I'm still in "recovery" from last semester... sorry for harping on about it).

I asked them all to make a single response to a simple question: "What is one thing that helps you to connect with God?" What was remarkable was the diversity of responses around the room... community, aloneness, the Word, music, nature, and other responses I've forgotten (I should have taken notes).

Perhaps this level of diversity shouldn't surprise me. We worship the God who created an incredibly diverse and complex natural world, and who has made every person on earth unique. It would be surprising if our spiritual lives did not reflect the diversity we see in other aspects of human life.

This experience added poignancy as I read this post by Crazy Seraph, describing how she was virtually demonised for not finding another person's preferred method of spiritual engagement helpful. It is staggering that people who claim to be Christ-followers have never even considered that every reported interaction Jesus had with others was unique. Nathaniel was called "without guile", Nicodemus was told to be "born from above", the woman at the well was offered "living water", the rich young ruler was asked to sell all he had, the expert in the law was told the parable of the good Samaritan, and so on. Jesus treated each person as an individual.

Now, we cannot be as discerning as Jesus! But it isn't a bad start to ask questions, and not to assume that one method of connecting to God is universally helpful.

Perhaps many humans love simplicity, security and rules, rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of patient listening and discernment. I for one, would like to sign up for the adventure and uncertainty of listening to where the wind of the Spirit is blowing... and the delight of discovering what God is up to in the lives of His unique and beloved children.

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