N.T. Wright and Pastor Cecelia Spotted Bear are not very much alike. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a number of N.T. Wright sermons and lectures and being moved by his rigorous academic, and yet faithful approach to the gospel and to the scriptures. Then on Thursday, February 24, I heard Pastor Cecelia share her amazing testimony and talk about what God is doing among the people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
I realized that these two people, and the way they understand the Christian faith, are in any number of ways very, very different. They rarely use the same words, and they most certainly do not have the same experiences. I was forced to wrestle with this, in part because I had been so moved by the language of one (Wright) while so touched by the story of the other (Pastor Cecelia). The question inside of me became, “With whom should I identify more?”
Then I realized, almost in an instant, it didn’t matter.
You see despite the differences in language and experience, and despite the likely fact that they would disagree on a great number of things if they were put in a vacuum with no context in which they had to live out the gospel, they are alike in all the ways that matter.
They both acknowledge that Jesus is God’s Son! They both see him as the savior of the world! They are both single-minded and convinced of the fact that Jesus is Lord and living like that matters to them!
Which brought me to a new question. How do I live out these convictions in my own life? Chances are, that whatever my answer is it will look somewhat, if not totally different from both of them. And to God’s glory, that’s ok!
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-32