I spent a few days with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Fairmont, Minnesota this last week, speaking and participating in their celebrations of the dedication of their new facilities. I was deeply touched by the simple faith and deep love of the ministers and people of this small town congregation. I kept on thinking about the experience Thomas Merton had in a Louisville, Kentucky. He writes of this, in his book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander:
"In Louisville, on a corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of a shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realiztion that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I was theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though were total strangers...I have the immense joy of being human, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. And if the sorrows and stupidies of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize that we all are. If only everybody could realize this! But is cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the Sun!"
I felt like this, all the time I spent with this beautiful congregation.
Merton, T (1996). Conjectures of a Gulity Bystander. New York: Doubleday.