A Childhood Treasure
I don’t like the smell of hard boiled eggs. I don’t think they would be the preferred lunch choice of very many middle school students. But, there I was, 12 years old, with my 2 hard-boiled eggs and lentil soup for lunch. I didn’t like Lent. I didn’t like having to get out my sulfuric smelling snack and endure the stares and turned up noses of my classmates. My saving grace though, was Elissa- my best friend and fellow hard-boiled egg unenthusiast. We were both growing up in Community together and although she was Baptist and I was Roman Catholic, our families had the same Lenten practices. Because we had each other, we embraced the 40 days of smelly lunches while we proudly told our classmates of the cool ‘gatherings’ our families attended and the different youth group we were in. My friendship with Elissa is one of the greatest treasures of my childhood.
Fast forward almost 20 years. I still am not a fan of hard boiled eggs. I do, however, realize the gift it was to have a friend who shared the same spiritual practices. It was an especially significant blessing considering our denominational differences. That friendship set a precedent in my life: I learned to be open to and appreciate friendships with people from other denominations, I learned that what I had in common with them outweighed the differences, I learned that other denominations had strengths that I could learn from, I learned that the ecumenical life we have in the Sword of the Spirit is unique and challenging and worth striving for.
In a time when our culture, even within Christianity, seems incredibly divided and focused on differences, I am overwhelmed with gratitude because I have grown up in an ecumenical environment. From a young age I have experienced the richness of ecumenism and have been blessed to have many relationships with brothers and sisters from other denominations that have played a significant role in my walk with Christ. The common way of life and shared spirituality I was a part of in my home community have given me a common witness along with my brothers and sisters, regardless of our denominational, racial or political backgrounds.
Our ecumenical witness is amazing and fills my heart with joy at the goodness of our Lord and his provision for us. Our friendship with each other, in my eyes at least, is a small taste of heaven.
By: Mary Rose Jordan