"Words matter because they represent persons. Because words represent persons, how we respond to words matters. This means when our neighbors speak, we listen. Love listens." Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet.
Last night I sat, taken up with one statement of faith after another (14 in all). Really, just taken up with the experience of listening to these men and women stepping into a servant's role with enthusiasm and humor and humility.
What caught me was the beauty of the personal stories and the soundness of their theology. To a person, they pointed to God as the initiator. To a person they spoke of people who were used by God to inspire, love and nurture them.
There was a really bad, awkward moment, when I thought, "man, my statement of faith last year was no where near this moving or well thought out. Mine was lame." Then, it thankfully occurred to me that this moment was for my benefit but was not in fact about me.
As I considered people's pain and joy, love and rejection and looking at it all through the lens of faith and salvation I thought of the immense value of life and the greater value of grace.
I loved listening to it all with love.