Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
“Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.” vs. 8
As the religion of Judaism developed through the centuries the rabbis debated at length about Israel’s place in the world. Some wanted a closed system, but others, inspired by the prophet Isaiah, understood that ultimately the house of God would become a house for all nations. What had happened for the people of Israel was only a beginning and one day all would feast at the table of the Lord. Later on, as the Church of Christ was established in communities all around the Mediterranean this belief was the impetus for proclamation and outreach. Early Christians believed that the gospel of forgiveness and hope was for all people and some gave their lives to spread the word. Because of their work, today the number of people calling themselves Christian is over a billion and followers of Jesus live in every part of the globe. But it’s not a monolithic presence! We live shoulder to shoulder with people of other religions, believers with very different faith practices, and we struggle at times with our relationships. The temptation is to battle it out and try to win them over to our point of view–but that just doesn’t seem to work. It’s far better to follow the prophet and see them as fellow children of one God, and our brothers and sisters at one common table.
Thought for the Day: When should we try to convert someone to Christianity?