Discovering connection with someone different on Pentecost

What is it like to experience a meaningful, even profound, connection with someone who is quite different from yourself?

How have you experienced that? A real and moving connection with someone from quite a different background from yourself, with very different life experiences, with significant differences between you?

In a way that is real, I mean, not papering over the differences, not naïve about how significantly different we can be from each other, how strange we can be to each other… I mean experiences of connection that may even honor the strangeness of another person, honor the differences, such that we can behold the mystery of another person in their full personhood, while also experiencing the deep level of shared humanity we have with others.

Do you know what I’m talking about?

Have you had experiences like this?

It doesn’t need to be a big dramatic experience. It can be an everyday kind of thing.

Now, it can be dramatic: for example, I know a few veterans who share stories about being in the midst of war and suddenly came face-to-face with the shared humanity of their enemy, despite everything that bitterly divided them, an experience that came like a flash of revelation, and caused a dramatic change in their lives.

But, really, often these kinds of experiences of deep connection across difference are very mundane, you know, just about hitherto strangers who find themselves in a waiting room at the same time, at a bus stop, a check-out line, and discover a deeply human connection.

Read Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg’s full sermon from May 19, 2024, here.