Faith Stories: Go and Tell Your Brothers and Sisters
Many of you read my Faith Story two weeks ago. You might want to read it first as this is a “postscript” to that story.
I didn’t think a lot about “the rest of the story” pertaining to my Washington, DC, car repair episode until Easter Sunday. In Pastor Jay’s Easter sermon, he asked us when the last time was that we had shared our faith with someone. I took him to mean not the “easy, sitting in the pew next to you kind of someone” but someone “out there” (although that former thing is great – we want your Faith Story!). Then he threw a challenge out to all of us to “go and tell,” referencing Mark 16:7.
As I heard that first question, my mind immediately went back to Washington, DC. That was the last time! So here’s the part of the story I want to add today. Just as soon as I finished writing the first Faith Story in the Washington, DC library, I got the phone call from the car repair shop telling me my son’s car was ready. I walked back to the repair shop office. The owner told me the car should make it back to Baton Rouge but repairs were needed as soon as possible. (As it turned out, my son kept the car in DC.)
We chatted briefly about my son’s lack of interest in cars and about kids in general. Before I knew it, my mouth started speaking. It was like an out of body experience where you see yourself doing something, wondering why, but it is impossible to stop it. By the time my mouth stopped speaking, I had told the shop owner about my “spiritual experience” at the library. I’d told him that I had turned the questions back on myself and pondered my relationship with my heavenly Father and my own “growing up.” What was I doing telling all this to a complete stranger?
But his response surprised me and warmed my heart. There was a visible change in his face. Not that it had been gruff or unpleasant, but I actually saw his demeanor change before my eyes. His face softened. He was listening and appreciating. Then he started to tell me that he had a 9-year-old daughter (he was my age – yikes!). He said his ex-wife had kept God out of their family life. He said he’d been raised Catholic and was now so happy that he could raise his daughter in the faith and that she had been saying grace at meals. He talked about his parents participating in training his daughter in the faith too.
After Easter Sunday, I reflected more on this event. The shop owner’s reaction really impacted me. It reminded me that we don’t need to be afraid to talk about our faith with others. That day, I didn’t think about it. I think the Holy Spirit just took over. I am afraid to say that if I’d thought about it, I probably wouldn’t have spilled my guts to this “stranger.” As I reflected, I thought about the fact that the people we encounter really aren’t strangers. The exchange with this man felt closer to a conversation between a brother and sister in Christ. In fact, isn’t that who we really are?